What Happens When You Mix Coffee and Marijuana

Millions of people consume caffeine every day, especially in the morning and as a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Caffeine is the world’s most used drug to encourage brain activity and keep you alert. Caffeine doesn’t give you energy, but it does block receptors in your brain from receiving adenosine which is the chemical compound that causes your brain to relax and get sleepy. Because the chemical compound of caffeine is so similar to adenosine, this switch is seamless, but after 6 hours the effectiveness of coffee decreases by 50 percent. Whether you drink one cup of coffee or five, however, your caffeine buzz could influence the level of another buzz — marijuana. According to a recent study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, drinking large amounts of coffee may enhance your high and increase the likelihood of marijuana addiction.

Weed-infused coffee isn’t the only way you can mix your favorite vices; you can, obviously, just drink a cup of coffee and consume marijuana at the same time. But what happens in your body when you combine the two substances?

Low Amounts of Coffee Cause Low Weed Cravings

In a 2014 study conducted on monkeys, scientists gave subjects a small amount (just one mg) of caffeine. Then, they gave them unlimited access to weed. Yes, in the name of scientific discovery, small monkeys were self-administering marijuana (via a levy, because they’re monkeys, remember) at will. Anyway, when monkeys were given the low amount of caffeine, they were less likely to administer THC.

High Amounts of Coffee Cause High Weed Cravings

In the same study, when monkeys were given a higher dosage of caffeine (three mg) they chose to administer more THC. This aspect of the study suggests that caffeine and THC have similar addictive qualities, so once you reach a certain threshold of one, the neurotransmitters in the brain crave more. We know already that coffee is addictive, but the jury is still out on whether marijuana itself is addictive or not. This study suggests a correlation, but remember, correlation does not equal causation.

Weed and Coffee Both Give Us Euphoria

So, if we’re still unsure about the addiction aspect, what gives? How come after a certain point, caffeine appears to make monkeys crave THC more than when they only had a small dosage? The science is unclear (and remember, they’re monkeys, not people), but many researchers suggest another commonality between weed and coffee is that both substances provide us with a sense of euphoria. As Dr. Scott Krakower tells LiveScience, “Taking caffeine with marijuana would not cancel out the high induced by the drug,” likely because of the substance-induced sense of euphoria. Coffee also won’t help you sober up after you smoke a joint.

Drinking Coffee While Smoking Doesn’t Necessarily Improve Your High

I know, I know. There are people who swear smoking weed while drinking coffee improves their high, and maybe for them, it does. But so far, the research doesn’t necessarily support the idea of coffee making your high feel “better” or more pronounced.” It does suggest, however, that drinking coffee while consuming weed may allow you to smoke less while maintaining your high, thanks to the caffeine dose. This implies that you’re getting a better “value” for your high, perhaps, but not necessarily that the high is “better” in terms of enjoyment.

Most studies like this have only been conducted on animals in a laboratory, it is unclear what differences would take place in humans—but if they wanted an idea they would merely have to ask a few people at a Starbucks.