Should you mix CBD with caffeine? What do we know about how they interact with each other?
Whether or not we think of it that way, caffeine is a drug. In fact, it’s the most commonly consumed drug in the United States. Most estimates suggest around 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine, in some form, every day. We’re no exception at the Ministry of Hemp. Actually, one survey suggested that journalists drink more coffee than any other profession, followed by police and teachers.
So what does it mean to mix CBD with this commonplace drug? Anecdotally speaking, some people swear by the benefits of adding CBD to your coffee. According to them, adding some CBD to your morning cup can reduce the jitters associated with caffeine, while also conferring CBD’s other benefits like stress relief and relief from inflammation.
However, a core goal of Ministry of Hemp is to share scientific knowledge with our readers. That’s why we decided to take a closer look at what current research suggests about CBD and caffeine.
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The science behind mixing CBD and caffeine
Just like so many aspects of our favorite plant, there’s not a lot of research looking directly at the effects of combining CBD and caffeine.
Many research studies actually ask their subjects to abstain from alcohol and caffeine during most of their duration, meaning that a number of existing studies of CBD deliberately exclude the influence of caffeine. It’s also important to remember that clinical studies of CBD often use much higher doses than the average CBD consumer takes at home. That’s true for all kinds of research into cannabinoids, not just CBD & caffeine.
Science doesn’t suggest “clear advantages to combining CBD and caffeine together.”
Source: Project CBD
That said, there have been a few studies that looked at the interaction between THC, caffeine and CBD, especially in relation to short-term memory. Project CBD summarized some of the existing research in an article published in May 2018. While THC is infamous for interfering with short-term memory, CBD may reduce these effects. But caffeine might actually interfere or even enhance the short-term memory loss caused by THC.
Adrian Devitt-Lee, chief science writer for Project CBD, noted that it is unlikely that the combination of caffeine with cannabinoids could be “seriously problematic” for consumers. However, he added, “as of now, there aren’t clear advantages to combining or marketing CBD and caffeine together.”
It’s intuitively easy to imagine CBD’s relaxing effects could moderate caffeine’s stimulating effects. The reality of neurological chemistry is far more complex and harder to summarize.
What do CBD consumers say about mixing the two?
The Ministry of Hemp podcast recently hosted Alwan Mortada, the founder of Ott Coffee. This innovative company adds CBD directly to the coffee beans during the roasting process.
Mortada believes that adding CBD to coffee takes away some of the jitters and nervousness caused by caffeine consumption. He said it helps him maintain his energy while staying focused.
“It definitely helps me a lot with my ADHD, especially if I drink regular coffee as a [software] developer,” said Mortada during the show.
Adding CBD to coffee “is pretty much one of our favorite things to do.”
Source: Redditor “Leafwize” on the CBD subreddit
There is limited research showing that while caffeine can increase the impulsivity associated with ADHD, CBD might moderate that impulsivity. The effects of this combination likely vary depending on the region of the brain being studied. That means it’s possible that there is some scientific basis for what Mortada described. Also notable: L-Theanine, an amino acid found in tea leaves, can also reduce caffeine jitters.
We also looked at the CBD subreddit on reddit.com. We often use this site to “take the pulse” of everyday CBD consumers. Numerous posters reported enjoying the combination of CBD and coffee. A few said they did not enjoy the effects of combining the two.
Redditor ‘Leafwize’ wrote that adding CBD directly to a morning cup “is pretty much one of our favorite things to do.” However, they and other redditors pointed out that the acidic nature of coffee likely causes chemical changes to the CBD.
Some redditors recommended enjoying CBD and caffeine together, but consuming them separately. For example, you might take a dropper of CBD oil before you begin drinking coffee, or even smoke a hemp flower joint as you enjoy your brew.
Should you mix CBD and caffeine?
As we so often find ourselves saying, we won’t really know the truth about CBD and caffeine until there’s more research looking directly at this topic. Since the legalization of hemp at the end of 2018, research of all kinds is blossoming so we may see a closer study of this topic in the near future.
In the meantime, it’s clear that CBD is overall very safe, perhaps even less likely to cause harm than overconsumption of caffeine. It’s also true that everyone’s personal biochemistry is different, especially when it comes to how you react to cannabinoids.
With that in mind, we can only recommend that curious readers experiment for themselves and see how they feel when they combine caffeine and CBD. Let us know what you discover.