Coffee and Cannabis - a Stimulant and a Depressant: What if They Work Together on Your Brain?

Coffee is a stimulant while marijuana is, mostly, a depressant. And although a mix of coffee and cannabis is gaining popularity as a super drug, some experts are wary of the confusing effect of the effective neuro-chemical reaction in your brain. But, here is another one, that is set to prove the skeptics wrong. Leslie Carr writes about Coffee and Cannabis and the research that shows otherwise.

Leslie has varied interests, but most of his interests revolve around Scyphus, Branded Coffee Cups and Coffee in General. And since the Paper Cups business primarily revolves around coffee, most of his and his team's focus stays put on the coffee and the paper industry around the world. This coffee and cannabis super drug trend has been keeping them looking for more info, whether it's a potential threat, or what if coffee does most of what you thought cannabis could do? 

Coffee discovered to act on the same brain parts as cannabis

Coffee keeps giving researchers from around the world multiple reasons to marvel at its complex nature. A fresh research report conducted by the researchers of the Northwestern University in Chicago has revealed stunning new facts on the effects the black gold can have on the human brain. After a thorough study on participants residing in Finland, the researchers concluded that coffee intake affects the same areas of the brain as cannabis. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Coffee and cannabis both affect metabolites in the endocannabinoid system

The study spanned over a period of three consecutive months and comprised 47 participants living in Finland. In the first month of the research, all the participants were asked not to consume coffee at all. In the second month, they had to consume four cups of coffee per day while in the third month, they drank eight cups of coffee daily. Dr. Marilyn Cornelis and her team conducting the research used advanced profiling techniques to examine the levels of over 800 metabolites (substances formed in or necessary for metabolism and carrying out various functions within and between cells) in the blood. These examinations were carried out at the end of each phase.

At the end of the research, the scientists noted that the level of blood metabolites taking part in the functioning of the endocannabinoid system was considerably lowered after coffee intake. The endocannabinoid system is a biological system expressed throughout the central nervous system including the brain. It is involved in many physiological and cognitive processes such as appetite, mood, pain sensation, sleep, memory, blood pressure, immunity, and addiction amongst others. The endocannabinoid system is the same system equally affected by the consumption of cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the key molecules found in the cannabis plant, taps on this biological network to trigger psychoactive effects.

Coffee is believed to affect eating behaviour

Nonetheless, even if both cannabis and coffee affect the same brain parts and neurological system, the scientists noted that the effects of coffee consumption and cannabis consumption were totally opposite. While cannabis consumption increases the level of blood metabolites in the endocannabinoid system, coffee intake reduced them. Dr. Marilyn Cornelis and her team underlined that cannabis consumption is often linked to an increased appetite. Coffee, on the contrary, is widely believed to boost fat metabolism and act as a potential weight loss aid. Polyphenols (chemicals found in coffee beans) are also thought to be able to regulate glucose levels. As a result, it can be deduced that both cannabis and coffee affect the eating behaviour by influencing the endocannabinoid system. The scientists highlighted that their discovery regarding the intricate link of coffee to the endocannabinoid system should undoubtedly spur further and much more elaborate research.

Previous studies have already established a link between coffee intake and energy intake and appetite-related feelings. Research carried out by the Metabolic Unit of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, studied the effect of coffee intake on 33 volunteers out of which 16 were of normal weight, and 17 were overweight or obese. The scientists concluded that an intake of 6mg of caffeine helped in reducing energy intake in the meal that followed. The positive effects were heightened in the overweight and obese participants.

Coffee reduces fat and risks of early death and various diseases

Green coffee gets its greenish colour from unroasted coffee beans. Green coffee is made from unroasted beans that are green in colour. Recently, a research conducted by the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed that since the beans do not lose the chlorogenic acid during roasting, they are even more potent than roasted coffee. Chlorogenic acid is a phenol boasted for its variety of health benefits, and more precisely, in helping to cut down body fat and liver fat, and in improving metabolic syndrome complications. This active ingredient has been demonstrated to improve glucose and insulin balance. Green coffee is hence widely being promoted for its fat-loss properties.

Traditional roasted coffee itself already has a myriad of health benefits that it is associated with. At the end of 2017, researchers at the University of Southampton revealed that that coffee intake even diminishes the risk of early death. As the researchers highlight, Packed with over 1,000 bioactive compounds, roasted coffee presents potentially anti-inflammatory, therapeutic antioxidant, antifibrotic, and anticancer effects. The researchers assert that even seven cups of coffee daily represent a 10% lower risk of all-cause mortality. Nonetheless, the maximum benefits are achieved when consuming three to four cups per day.

It was observed that coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, and various types of cancer too. Another study published by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee underlined regular coffee intake reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 27%. This finding is also supported by the University of Southampton that noted that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of depression and cognitive disorders.  

Coffee can boost sports performance

Apart from its extensive array of health benefits, coffee has been observed to increase performance in a wide range of sports activities as well. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors in the brain which alert to tiredness, resulting in increased production of adrenaline. As a result, muscles can produce much more force. Perceived level of exertion, pain, and vigour are subsequently affected, resulting in greater and improved performance.

A strong cup of black coffee before hitting the gym can help enhance short-term high-intensity exercise on the treadmill or bicycle as blood flow to the muscles, including the heart, is improved. Moderate amounts of caffeine intake before events can improve performance across a range of high-intensity and endurance sports like football and rugby, swimming and rowing too. There is also substantial evidence showing that caffeine can equally lessen muscle soreness and speed up recovery. This is why those drinking coffee before working out can note that they can lift heavier weights.

Source: Scyphus, UK