CBD And Caffeine: Can I Mix Both?

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Caffeine has become the cornerstone of modern society. Used to battle deadlines, fatigue at work, and kick start the day, it can be found in a massive range of drinks hot or cold. The problem, however, is like all things in life moderation is key. While small amounts of caffeine can be beneficial, too much can leave us feeling jittery and anxious. To find out how CBD may be able to counteract these side effects, keep reading.

How does caffeine affect us?

Morning rituals are sacred—a slice of toast, a bowl of cereal or a piece of fruit are fantastic ways to start the day. No matter your preference, there is one thing which is favoured by an overwhelming majority of people to start the day—caffeine. It helps kick start our minds, shaking off morning tiredness, and getting ready for a busy day ahead. In fact, morning rituals dedicated to caffeine aren't anything new, as historians have tracked the first 'brewed tea' back to 2737 BC.

The reason for its universal appeal lay in how it makes us feel when consumed. Caffeine is a natural stimulant derived from the coffee plant and found in tea, coffee, and dozens of energy drinks. However, the interaction is not as straightforward as you might think. Rather than taking direct action, caffeine inhibits receptors activated by the neurochemical adenosine.

Adenosine is important because of its role in managing our sleep and wake cycle. When adenosine is released, it encourages the body to rest and reduces brain activity. Caffeine works by blocking receptors in the brain from being able to bind with adenosine. Under normal circumstances, adenosine levels build throughout the day until we finally go to sleep. With caffeine in our system, this natural cycle is interrupted, leaving us feeling more alert and focused.

What are the benefits of caffeine?

Beyond allowing us to stay awake for longer, caffeine has several other notable benefits. By blocking adenosine from binding with receptors, it enables neurochemicals dopamine and norepinephrine to take centre stage. The former is linked to our biological mechanism for pleasure and reward with higher levels of dopamine associated with a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate. The latter, norepinephrine, is responsible for mobilising the brain and body for action.

In addition to the psychological benefits, caffeine has also been linked to increased metabolism, improved performance in exercise, and protection against heart disease. The difficulty, however, is maintaining the fine line between a few cups of coffee throughout the day, and overloading the body with caffeine. Because of caffeine's encouragement of dopamine levels, the substance can be addictive. Tip the balance too far, and individuals usually experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, migraines, high blood pressure, anxiety and trouble sleeping. Don't worry, though, there may be a way to counteract its adverse side effects—CBD.

How does CBD interact with caffeine?

Before we can understand how two compounds, from seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum, work together, it helps to look at CBD in isolation. Cannabidiol is a therapeutic compound found in the Cannabis sativa species. By interacting with our body's endocannabinoid system, it is believed to support and encourage a wide range of biological reactions. One such interaction is the potential ability to reduce anxiety while promoting mild reductions in pain and inflammation.

Although these are just a snapshot of the capabilities CBD may have, the potential reduction in anxiety is critical, especially when you consider what we know about the side effects of too much caffeine. Interestingly though, the collaboration between CBD and caffeine is far more intricate than the former merely undoing the side effects of the latter—both compounds are thought to interact with the adenosine receptors we mentioned earlier.

Caffeine and CBD—the perfect match?

Whereas caffeine blocks the receptors ability to interact with adenosine, CBD may delay their ability to bind with adenosine after the effects of caffeine have faded. Although the effects of caffeine are profound, especially in large doses, they are somewhat short-lived. By combining CBD and caffeine, it may help to increase alertness and focus for longer, while the cannabinoid works to reduce the impact of caffeine's side effects. Our understanding of this unique partnership is still in the preliminary stages, but numerous companies are already producing several branded coffees infused with CBD.

Balance is the key for any compound that alters the way we feel, and caffeine is no exception. The easiest way to manage any side effects from caffeine is to keep intake moderate, and instead, focus on a healthy lifestyle. However, if you are sensitive to small doses, or are desperately trying to hit a deadline at work, caffeine taken in partnership with CBD could prove to be highly effective. With the chance for a more prolonged effect and a reduction in post caffeine jitters—ours is a caramel latte, no sugar.

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