Many of us consume a wide range of substances to help keep us sane in this crazy life: coffee to help wake us up and be productive; alcohol, for celebrating or for decompressing; and melatonin, one of the most common over-the-counter sleep aids for those sleepless nights.
But with more people consuming cannabis, how do these interactions play about?
According to experts, majority of Americans consume some kind of coffee drink daily. That’s millions of people who rely on a cup of joe for everyday. And the numbers of people who consume marijuana continue to rise too.
The euphoric bliss that comes with pairing coffee with marijuana is unlike any other. Many believe that the origins of combining coffee and marijuana started in Amsterdam, where the cannabis café culture was abuzz for many decades.
Whether you’re drinking a straight-up commercial THC or CBD infused coffee drink, or having a few puffs from your vape after your morning coffee, it’s hard to describe why this mix feels so good. The caffeine content in coffee stimulates the central nervous system and prevents you from getting sleepy, providing a much-needed mental and physical energy boost. Cannabis can work similarly in the human body.
However, everyone reacts differently to the combination. Some find that consuming CBD with coffee helps take the edge off a strong caffeine dose, while boosting it with THC can increase alertness and energy. A 2013 study suggests that the combination can improve cognitive performance, offering better concentration while the user also enjoys the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
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In another study, researchers found that both marijuana and caffeine lead to a spike in dopamine levels through various mechanisms. The findings suggest that when these are taken at the same time, this dopamine increase could be responsible for the boost of happy feelings and euphoria.
Both cannabis and caffeine are natural compounds. Combining both is generally safe and well-tolerated by most people, as long as you don’t consume excessive amounts of coffee because this can lead to heart palpitations.
Melatonin is a hormone that the body naturally produces on its own as a response to darkness. It helps regulate the circadian rhythm, the internal clock that tells us when it’s time to sleep or wake up.
Humans have the highest natural levels of melatonin in the evening when it’s dark. This is a signal for us to prepare for bed. However, millions of people struggle with falling and staying asleep. Melatonin is also one of the easiest over-the-counter supplements available to help people sleep.
According to studies, marijuana consumption helps naturally increase melatonin levels. It’s not surprising then, that so many rely on marijuana to help them fall and stay asleep. There’s even a market for sleep-specific cannabis products because it works so well in fighting insomnia.
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Consuming both melatonin and marijuana at the same time can make you extremely sleepy, drowsy, and sedated. This is not necessarily dangerous as long as you don’t take too much melatonin (experts recommend anywhere between 1-5mg per dose). There are no known dangerous interactions as of yet between the two, but it’s wise to tread cautiously.
Individuals who rely on cannabis to fall asleep due to pain or other illnesses that prevent them from getting decent shut eye are advised to talk to their physician if you need additional sleep aid. Instead of combining the two, which can lead to increased drowsiness when waking up in the morning, you may be better off with a stronger cannabis product or dose without needing to mix any substances.
Ahhhh… alcohol. The most popular legal and addictive substance society has today. There’s nothing wrong with having a few glasses of wine or a few bottles of beer at the end of a stressful work week.
Mixing it with cannabis makes relaxing even more enjoyable: combining the two can provide a deep level of sedation that helps you forget about all the stress. But if you are a binge drinker, which is typically defined as drinking more than 4 or 5 drinks within two hours, mixing with cannabis is not recommended. According to the World Health Organization, alcohol is responsible for causing over 200 different illnesses. On top of that, drunk driving takes around 10,000 lives annually.
Casually mixing a few glasses of alcohol with a few tokes of weed is generally safe in moderation. However, it’s always safest to mix both when you are in the comfort of your own home and don’t have to worry about driving. But getting excessively drunk or stoned when mixing both can be dangerous and even cause blackouts.
Cannabis has also been shown to help reduce the incidence of liver cirrhosis, and minimize hangovers the next day. For many people who are seasoned cannabis consumers and know how to drink responsibly, the occasional mixing of both substances should be fine.
When it comes to CBD, which isn’t psychoactive, you may experience an increase in sleepiness when combining with alcohol if either is consumed in high doses. If you are interested in mixing CBD with your glass of wine, it’s always recommended to purchase from legitimate manufacturers especially those that can provide you with a certificate of analysis so that you know exactly how much you are consuming. Always choose a high CBD and low to no THC product to increase the safety of the experience.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.