How to use CBD to get the most out of your coffee
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Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug and it is estimated that 80% of the global population consumes caffeine daily in the form of coffee, energy drinks, sodas, or tea.1
Most people who regularly consume caffeine claim they need it to help them wake up, however, trickery is afoot! Caffeine doesn’t affect energy metabolism, rather it blocks the brain’s ability to detect that it is tired. It does this by inhibiting the adenosine receptors, preventing adenosine molecules from binding to these receptors.
Why is this important? When adenosine (a neuromodulator) binds to the adenosine receptors, it sends signals to the brain communicating the feeling of fatigue.2 Caffeine binds to these adenosine receptors instead and blocks the brain from receiving the alerts corresponding to the brain’s fatigue., This leads to an increase in neural activity in the brain, a temporary increase in mental alertness and thought processing as well as a reduction in drowsiness and fatigue.3
The prevention of adenosine-binding causes a build-up of adenosine molecules in the brain, and only once the caffeine leaves the body will adenosine be able to bind. This can cause what’s known as the caffeine crash because when the caffeine is depleted all the adenosine molecules bind at the same time and the brain has an influx of signals communicating fatigue, resulting in a sudden feeling of extreme tiredness.
The caffeine crash is the reason several people have moved from coffee to other drinks which have a slower release of caffeine over time such as green tea. However, many people love the taste of coffee and cannot bear to change their habits. What if I told you that there is a way to keep having your coffee while ensuring that you do not experience the dreaded caffeine crash? Luckily for you and all the other millions of coffee lovers out there, there is indeed a way to achieve this.
Caffeine and CBD are both metabolised by certain enzymes in the liver. Studies into the caffeine metabolism pathway have found that 95% of caffeine is metabolism by the enzyme CYP1A2.4 It turns out that there is significant evidence indicating that CBD is a CYP1A2 inhibitor (a molecule that binds to an enzyme and prevents it from being able to function).5 This means that when CBD and caffeine are ingested together, the CYP1A2 enzyme is inhibited by CBD and caffeine is metabolised at a slower rate because there is less of the CYP1A2 enzyme available to process the caffeine molecules.
Figure 1: This image shows how a normal enzymatic reaction works and how competitive and noncompetitive inhibitors will prevent this reaction from occurring.6
This is shown in Figure 1, where the enzyme is inhibited from binding to the substrate (caffeine) and breaking it down. This means that caffeine is metabolised and broken down at a slower rate over a longer time which will prevent the caffeine crash as the CBD allows for a gentle exit of caffeine slowly over time.5 The research has not been able to conclude whether CBD works as a non-competitive or competitive inhibitor but future studies in this area could help confirm this question.
In a world where 80% of us are fueled by caffeine and an army of adenosine molecules is constantly knocking on our brain’s door, it’s no surprise that we’ve turned to this magical elixir to keep our weary minds awake. While we can’t cheat tiredness entirely, with a little help from science, we can certainly outwit it, one cup of CBD-infused joe at a time.
So what is the take-home message?
Caffeine, the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance, functions by blocking the adenosine receptors, which prevents the brain from acknowledging the feeling of fatigue. The well-known “caffeine crash” occurs when accumulated adenosine molecules suddenly bind after caffeine’s effects wear off. However, combining caffeine with CBD, a known inhibitor of the enzyme responsible for caffeine metabolism, can extend caffeine’s presence in the body. This interaction suggests a potential method for mitigating the crash and its associated fatigue. Further research is needed to elucidate the exact nature of CBD’s inhibitory effect on caffeine metabolism.
Medspresso™ offers a range of premium CBD-infused foods and beverages. Our whole beans and ground coffees are sourced from the very best coffee producers in Africa. The Tanzanian Peaberry is a world-renowned and award-winning coffee bean. Famous for their exquisite taste, the peaberries have been hand sorted, guaranteeing the highest quality and undoubtedly superior taste. Our CBD-infused Ethiopian and Kenyan blend is the perfect mix of two African darlings. High-quality CBD (cannabidiol) is added during the roasting process, allowing it to saturate the beans before the grounding process. This results in higher CBD levels per gram – more than any other CBD-infused coffee on the market.
Medspresso™ also sells Rooibos Nespresso®-compatible* pods which contain Rooibos tea harvested from the Cederberg mountains of South Africa. You can taste the naturally sweet, rich and earthy finish in every shot as the tea bursts with distinct character. It is packed with antioxidants and caffeine-free with all the benefits of premium CBD.
Our coffee and tea Nespresso®-compatible* pods are OK Compost Home certified – a biodegradability guarantee in home compost heaps.
- Ogawa N, Ueki H. 2007. Clinical importance of caffeine dependence and abuse. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 61(3):263–8. Available here.
- Batta A, Kaur H. 2016. Coffee is a medical advice. International Journal of Health Science and Research, 6(3):286-292. Available here.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research. 2014. Pharmacology of caffeine [Internet]. Nih.gov. National Academies Press (US);. Available from here.
- Thorn CF, Aklillu E, McDonagh EM, et al. 2012. PharmGKB summary. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, 22(5): 389–395. Available here.
- Thai C, Tayo B, Critchley D. 2021. A phase 1 open‐label, fixed‐sequence pharmacokinetic drug interaction trial to investigate the effect of cannabidiol on the CYP1A2 probe caffeine in healthy subjects. Clinical Pharmacology in Drug Development. 5;0(0) 1–11. Available here.
- Khan Academy. Enzyme regulation (article) [Internet]. Khan Academy. 2022. Available from here.