Research Reveals Link Between Coffee, Cannabis and Brain Function

Perk up! There’s new information on the link between coffee, cannabis and brain function.
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Daytime cannabis users will be excited to know that a landmark study appeared this week shed new light on the link between coffee, cannabis and brain function.

And whether you’re a coffee drinker or not—or maybe you start the day with a smooth cup of bulletproof coffee brewed with cannabutter—the study’s findings are valuable for cannabis users who are interested in how either of the drugs affects their system. It turns out, coffee and cannabis have a lot in common. So pour yourself that cup and load a moonrock into your bong. It’s time for some science.

Coffee And Cannabis Have An Intriguing Relationship

Put crudely, the research available on how cannabis interacts with the human body raises more questions than it answers. Interestingly enough, the same can be said for the research on the effects of coffee, even though there’s much, much more of it.

No doubt some coffee-related headline has grabbed your attention lately, trumpeting the latest research. There are studies that conclude coffee is beneficial to one’s health. Others that it may reduce risk of mortality. Some have identified cardiovascular risks. But most have offered no solid conclusions.

And the reason is that the humble coffee bean is densely packed with thousands of compounds. Each sip unleashes a flurry of complex metabolic activity that quickly blurs obvious relationships of cause and effect.

The same is true of cannabis. Cannabis flowers are home to rich, complicated arrays of terpenes, cannabinoids, and other resins. And cannabinoids, like the psychoactive THC and therapeutic CBD, trigger complex chains of metabolic and cellular reactions.

Put simply, we have so much to learn about both. But the good news is that studying the one helps us study the other. And we know that thanks to a new study that found coffee and cannabis both interact with the same bodily system to produce their effects.

Marilyn Cornelis heads a team of researchers at Northwestern University conducting research on the effects of coffee. Their most recent study, published this week in the Journal of Internal Medicine, takes a fine-grained look at how coffee modifies our internal chemistry.

The study analyzed results from 47 participants in Finland. Over three months, participants steadily increased their coffee consumption from zero to eight cups a day.

The researchers were interested in measuring the presence of metabolites in the blood at each stage. And that’s when they got their breakthrough results.

Their results reveal that the link between coffee, cannabis and brain function is, remarkably, the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is a deep-wired network of cell receptors and neurotransmitters responsible for modulating a number of critical bodily processes.

Cannabis users may know that the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the human endocannabinoid system are the ones that interact with phytocannabinoids cannabis. Of course, some of those plant cannabinoids, like THC, are highly active in the body.

Cannabinoids bond with endocannabinoid receptors and thereby stimulate a whole host of reactions throughout the body, and especially, in the brain. These reactions include, of course, producing the chemicals that cause the euphoria of a good high. But they also include non-psychoactive reactions like those that reduce inflammation.

Cornelis’ research into coffee made the crucial discovery that the chemicals in coffee appear to take advantage of some of the same pathways that cannabinoids do.

In short, both interact with the endocannabinoid system. And that fact has profound implications for studying the link between coffee, cannabis and brain function, metabolism and many other health factors.

“These are entirely new pathways by which coffee might affect health,” Cornelis concludes. “Now, we want to delve deeper and study how these changes affect the body.”

Indeed, these new findings linking coffee to the endocannabinoid system absolutely merit further investigation.

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