CBD, short for cannabidiol, has become nearly synonymous with wellness in the past year. It's pretty clear that CBD isn't harmful, whether or not it's actually helpful, so it seems worth trying if you want to shell out the cash and hope for the best. Wondering if you can mix caffeine and CBD oil? We take a look at whether caffeine counteracts CBD oil and if it can help with caffeine withdrawal.
I Tried CBD in My Coffee—and I’m Still Not Sure What I Felt
CBD: real deal chill factor or overly hyped? I tested it in coffee to find out.
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner is a writer and recipe developer. She’s a regular contributor to The New York Times, Time Out New York, Forbes, and many more publications. She also writes the food newsletter, Specialty.
I didn’t think CBD worked until, well, it did. I think. I’d once taken a small CBD gummy the week before my wedding and ended up lying flat on my back on my Brooklyn rooftop, watching planes slowly zoom overhead, feeling just. weird. Was this what relaxation felt like? Or was this a total placebo effect situation, with me just totally zoning out before the biggest week of my life?
As a general statement, I am an anxious, not-at-all-chill, never-relaxed person. This personality type works for me. It’s how, within minutes of being commissioned this article by my editor, I agreed to try CBD in my coffee, got my hands on some unflavored CBD oil, and experimented with my own mental state.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, has become nearly synonymous with wellness in the past year. Derived from hemp, CBD is the compound thought to make users feel relaxed. THC, on the other hand, is the chemical compound in cannabis that makes users feel high. The science is still lacking on what exactly a dose of CBD can do for you, but some believe it can be used to treat anxiety, though the research on that is inconclusive. Still, it’s pretty clear that CBD isn’t harmful, whether or not it’s actually helpful, so it seems worth trying if you want to shell out the cash and hope for the best.
Tasting CBD Coffee
Due to the aforementioned anxiety, I’ve tried to cut back on my coffee intake. This means one cup in the morning and another (OK, two more) in the afternoon. Though CBD is thought to help some go to sleep at night, the idea of starting my morning with a caffeine boost and some zen CBD relaxation was appealing, so I added a dose (33 milligrams) of Kush Queen’s Bare Daily Wellness Supplement Full Spectrum CBD to my morning brew.
The first thing I noticed was that the CBD oil did not mix in well with my coffee—it floated on top in large drops and when I tried stirring it in, they just broke up into smaller droplets. I sipped the coffee regularly, aware that some sips were significantly oilier than others. Because the CBD was unflavored, it didn’t really affect the taste of the coffee in any way. In retrospect, it would probably have been delicious drizzled on some slices of avocado (next time!).
The Effects of CBD Coffee
Knowing that I’d be documenting my CBD experience, I was hyper-aware of any changes that may occur with my chemically enhanced coffee routine. Only, none came. (At least, noticeably.) My morning continued as usual: reading Travel & Leisure magazine, checking and responding to emails, and commuting via the New York City ferry to Manhattan’s financial district, where I had lunch at Manhatta and cleaned my plate.
Cannabis is known for inducing cravings or sparking one’s appetite. But that’s due to the THC, not the CBD, so I can’t say what made me so delightfully hungry to gobble down an entire steak and deconstructed cheesecake. I was noticeably sleepy after lunch, but again, that’s probably due to the filling meal, rainy weather, and the fact I was jetlagged from a return flight from Paris just days before.
Theoretically, the effects of ingested CBD should kick in about 45 minutes to two hours after the substance is consumed, and there’s not quite enough info to know how long the effects last. People feel the effects differently too, or not at all. By the time I left lunch, battled the rain, and hopped on the subway, the CBD should have kicked in (if not worn off). But I wasn’t totally aware of any major changes it incurred in my mood or behavior that day.
Following Kush Queen’s advice, I added my second dose of CBD to my cup of coffee at my coworking space, which made me feel both illicit and cool—despite the fact that I was wearing socks with pumpkins on them and everyone else around me was conducting business in chic heels and cool boots. This, perhaps, may be the strongest effect of CBD: the cool factor. It’s trendy. It’s also kind of expensive (the 1-ounce bottle of CBD cost $35.99, and a bottle this size has roughly 30 droppers full, making each dose over a dollar per serving), so I consider it a luxury product.
Because I now have this 1-ounce bottle of CBD, and about 14 more days worth of dosages, I’ve continued trying to see if I notice a difference in my days due to my CBD-infused coffee. After all, some evidence suggests that the effects of CBD may be cumulative, rather than immediate, especially in relation to conditions like inflammation. But the truth is, I still haven’t noticed much difference in anything relating to my mind or body due to my CBD consumption. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not working. This also may be why my therapist suggests meditating.
CBD and Caffeine: Why You Should Mix CBD with Your Morning Coffee
With the rising appreciation for CBD’s many potential health benefits, more and more people are wondering how the popular health supplement interacts with another common lifestyle drug — coffee.
So the question is, can you mix caffeine and CBD oil?
You might be surprised to see me refer to coffee as a drug, but that’s exactly what it is—or at least the caffeine is. As with any drug, there’s the potential for adverse interactions when other drugs are added to the mix.
In the case of CBD—which many take for anxiety — it’s not hard to see why one might have concerns about whether coffee will harsh the relaxation provided by their favorite cannabinoid.
Does caffeine counteract CBD oil? The answer is a little more complicated than a mere “yes” or “no.”
What Do CBD and Caffeine Do to You?
Before we get into the specifics of what CBD and caffeine do to you, you first must understand how the endocannabinoid system works.
The endocannabinoid system is a complex network of enzymes and receptors that your body uses to regulate functions relating to mood, sleep, appetite, memory, and many other biological elements. It uses molecules called endocannabinoids — which are produced both naturally in your body and can be introduced from outside sources — that link with receptors throughout your body to route signals that drive these functions.
Arguably the most famous cannabinoids that can be introduced externally — THC and CBD — are found in the cannabis plant. But another substance that interacts with the endocannabinoid system is even more common: the caffeine in your cup of joe .
One study has shown that caffeine and CBD have opposite effects on the endocannabinoid system. While the former shut down neurotransmitters, the latter activates them.
That being the case, you might be quick to assume that the two are incompatible opposites. But the reality is not so cut and dry.
Does Caffeine Counteract CBD Oil?
So far, we’ve established that CBD relaxes you while caffeine is a stimulant. Therefore the two must counteract each other, right? Not so fast.
The fact is the different dosages of these two drugs can have wildly varying results, so it’s difficult to predict how different doses might interact with one another.
In an interview with Marie Claire , medical director at Canna-Centers, Dr. Bonni Goldstein explained, “It’s unclear at this point the exact interaction between CBD and caffeine. At low doses, CBD is a stimulant, and in higher doses, it can cause sedation… Someone’s reaction to a combination of these compounds would not be easily predictable because various doses of each would affect the response.”
Speaking for the same article, cannabis activist and entrepreneur Jane West agreed: “ It’s just not as simple as one effect negating the other. The effects of cannabinoids are concentration-specific.”
The lack of clarity on how CBD and caffeine interact hasn’t prevented many from not only using the two together but actually infusing CBD into their coffee.
Should You Mix CBD Oil and Caffeine?
In the end, we don’t have enough hard research on this specific question to provide a science-based answer. But there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that suggests that many people do find benefits to using CBD alongside coffee.
For example, many who use CBD in conjunction with caffeine report that it helps to ease some of the jitters that coffee tends to elicit, thereby making them alert but calm. And for those who find that too much caffeine can cause anxiety—a common side effect when consuming an abundance of coffee—CBD’s anti-anxiety properties can be the ideal solution. What’s more, as a powerful anti-nausea agent, CBD can help those who experience upset stomachs when they drink coffee.
In other words, while the science isn’t in yet on how CBD and caffeine interact, the benefits we do know CBD can deliver can likely be useful to coffee drinkers.
Can CBD Help with Caffeine Withdrawal?
If you’re like many out there who love (or can’t live without) the energy that coffee provides, but you hate the crash, you might be wondering — can CBD help with caffeine withdrawal?
The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include nausea, headache, anxiety, depression, irritability, and tremors, all of which are treatable with CBD. So if it’s getting late in the day and your coffee is waning, CBD might provide exactly the relief you’re looking for.
Tips for Mixing Caffeine with CBD Oil
If you do decide to mix CBD oil with caffeine, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Pace yourself
As little is known about how specific dosages will interact, it’s probably best to start at relatively low to moderate doses of each. In other words, avoid starting by taking 1,500 mg of CBD with your triple shot espresso. Play around with dosages a bit until you find the right combination for you.
2. Consider timing
Depending on the potency of your CBD oil, it might take time before it takes effect. That means that if you want it to provide its benefits from your very first cup of coffee, consider consuming your CBD 20-40 minutes before you start drinking your brew.
Likewise, if you’re hoping to stave off the effects of caffeine withdrawal, it might be best to take your CBD before the crash.
3. Turn down the heat
Some studies have shown that CBD’s potency can be diminished under extreme heat, so if you plan on adding your CBD oil directly to your coffee, consider choosing an iced drink or give your hot coffee or tea a few minutes to cool down.
4. Know the legality
At this point, CBD is legal in almost every state in the US as well as most countries, but there are still places where you can get in trouble for possessing or ingesting anything cannabis-related, including CBD. So before you pop out your vial of CBD oil right in front of the barista, be aware of what your local laws happen to be.
Choosing a CBD Oil for Your Coffee
Theoretically speaking, you can combine any CBD oil with your coffee. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the same effect from every product. Here are a few things to look for when choosing your CBD oil:
1. Quality hemp
Ensure that you’re using a CBD product sourced from quality hemp that is organically grown without pesticides or other additives. Hemp is known as a “hyperaccumulator,” which means it easily absorbs anything present in its soil. If you wouldn’t want it in your body, you don’t want it in your hemp and, therefore, your CBD.
2. Extraction method
Different producers use several methods to extract CBD from hemp, but they aren’t all created equal. Look for products made using CO2 extraction, which tends to deliver the highest levels of potency and purity. Most CBD producers include information about their extraction process on their product label or website.
3. Check the THC
It’s almost impossible to create a CBD product that is completely free of THC, but the THC levels should be so low that they won’t deliver psychoactive effects that get you “high.” Check for THC levels that are no higher than 0.3 percent.
4. Look for “whole-plant” or “full-spectrum.”
Different CBD products include different amounts of secondary compounds derived from hemp plants, such as terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and other cannabinoids. The presence of these compounds tends to ensure more potency and a wider range of health benefits thanks to increased bioavailability—meaning they absorb into your system better — so be sure to look for CBD oil that is “whole-plant” or “full-spectrum.”
5. Check for third-party analysis
These days the most reputable CBD producers have their products tested for potency and purity by a third-party laboratory. Usually, these tests’ results can be found on the company’s website or by scanning a QR code on the product label.
In Summation: Can You Mix Caffeine and CBD Oil?
At this point, we have no evidence that there are health risks to combining CBD oil with caffeine or that your morning cup of joe will counteract the CBD you take for anxiety or any other reason.
So can you mix caffeine and CBD oil? Yes, and it seems like it will do more good than harm.
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.