The Science of CBD and Caffeine – Are they safe to use together? Can I use both at the same time?
Some may be wondering: Can I take my CBD capsule with caffeine (or coffee)? Is it safe to mix the two together and what's going on in our bodies when we drink them together. The short answer: Yes, it is safe to mix these products, but caution should be taken as there are some possible negative side effects.
Let's discuss ..
What happens when we mix CBD and caffeine?
So, what actually is going on in our bodies when you take both of these products together? How do they interact with each other and how can we explain why people would want to mix them together? Well, that's where it gets really interesting! To understand the answer to this question, we need to know a little bit about what exactly CBD and caffeine are, how they work (and don't work) with each other and some general pharmacology (or 'how drugs work' for anyone interested).
We'll start with understanding how caffeine works. Caffeine is a molecule which structurally belongs to the group of chemicals called xanthines (don't worry, we're not going to go any further into the science than that for this article!). Caffeine is found in coffee, tea and chocolate and it is thought to be responsible for the stimulating effects of these products. When caffeine enters the body, it attaches to receptors on cells called adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a molecule which is normally responsible for making us feel sleepy – so when caffeine binds to these receptors, it effectively blocks the adenosine from working, stopping us from feeling drowsy. This is why caffeine is often used as a 'pick-me-up' – it stops us from feeling tired and sluggish.
Now let's move on to CBD. CBD (or cannabidiol) is a molecule which belongs to the group of chemicals called cannabinoids (yes, like cannabis! Again, no need to go into too much detail on this). There are many other cannabinoids in the plant of the cannabis sativa family (i.e. marijuana), but let's stick to CBD for now. We know that CBD is non-intoxicating because it doesn't get you 'high' like THC does. We also know that CBD has many therapeutic effects and can be used by people safely without getting them stoned or having any obvious side effects (apart from some reported dry mouth and drowsiness). So how does CBD work?
CBD binds to receptors on cells known as serotonin receptors . Serotonin is often referred to as the 'happy chemical' or the 'feel good chemical' because it's involved in many processes which make us feel good, including mood, sleep and appetite. Serotonin receptors are (obviously) located on cells which use serotonin, so how can binding to these receptors make us feel better? Well, when CBD binds to these receptor sites, it causes the effects of serotonin molecules in two ways:
First way that CBD makes us happy is by preventing breakdown of serotonin . When we take CBD orally (in other words - swallow a CBD capsule), the enzymes in our body try to break down (metabolize) CBD like any other molecule. If this happens before CBD gets into the blood stream and travels around the body , then all that will be left is the serotonin. Serotonin is a molecule which makes us feel good, so by taking CBD we are essentially flooding our bodies with more 'happy chemicals'.
Second way that CBD makes us happy is by directly activating serotonin receptors . This might not seem as exciting as the first way, but it's actually really important! Activating serotonin receptors causes all sorts of changes in the cells which have them (remember, serotonin receptors are located on lots of different cells types). These changes can lead to things like reduced anxiety, improved mood and better sleep. So, when we take CBD, it's not just stopping us from feeling down – it's actually lifting our mood and making us feel happier!
So… when we put all this information together, we can see that both CBD and caffeine act on different receptor sites. Caffeine acts on adenosine receptors, while CBD acts on serotonin receptors. But this is where the interesting bit comes in – how do these two molecules work together? Well, it seems that they actually work by stopping each other from acting!
The science of what goes on looks a little like this… when caffeine attaches to adenosine receptors, it prevents adenosine (the molecule which makes us feel drowsy) from attaching to these same receptors.
When CBD attaches to serotonin receptors, it prevents serotonin (the molecule which makes us feel happy) from attaching to these same receptors. This means that if you take both CBD and caffeine at the same time, they essentially cancel each other out!
So, what does this all mean for us? Well, it seems that taking CBD and caffeine together is safe and doesn't have any negative effects. In fact, it might even be a good way to reduce the 'jittery' feeling you sometimes get from caffeine. Some people have even reported that taking CBD and caffeine together helps them to feel more alert and focused.
If you're thinking of trying this combination out, it's best to start with a low dose of each and see how you go. You might also want to avoid drinking coffee or any other caffeinated drinks within a few hours of taking CBD capsules – this will help to make sure that the two molecules don't compete against each other.
It's also worth being aware that taking high doses of CBD on its own can have some negative effects, including low blood pressure and dry mouth. So if you're taking one of our 25mg capsules, it might be best to cut the capsule open and take just a portion when combining with caffeine.
So… when is the best time to drink coffee with CBD? Well, in theory there isn't really a 'best' time – but many people choose not to have coffee after 5pm so they get a better night's sleep. This means that drinking coffee with CBD before bed would reduce any effect it has on your sleep! Some people also find that having their normal morning cup of tea or coffee then adding CBD later in the day can help to reduce any side effects they experience.
One situation where you might want to avoid taking caffeine is during times of high stress, as this can increase your blood pressure and cause anxiety. If you're experiencing a period of particularly stressful activity (for example if you're about to give a big presentation at work), then it might be best to wait until things calm down before having caffeine.
What about other supplements? Well, for many people CBD alone is enough to get them feeling great - but what if you also want some sharpness / focus from an additional supplement? Then adding L-Theanine or 5-HTP could be helpful! Both these molecules act on different receptor sites in the brain than CBD and caffeine, and so they can be taken together without any competition.
So, now you know all about the science of CBD and caffeine – what are you waiting for? Why not give it a try and see how you feel!
If you're looking to buy CBD capsules online, we have a range of different strengths available – so whether you're a beginner or an experienced CBD user, we've got something for you! Click here to browse our range.