The science behind CBD Coffee

Coffee and cannabis. To the uninitiated it may seem like a strange combo. 

People use coffee to wake up or increase alertness, while cannabis, is typically used to do pretty much do the opposite. Yet the duo is well documented and touted by wake and bakers as a pairing comparable to ‘cheese and wine’… it may also be the reason Amsterdam has ‘coffeeshops’. 

Both coffee and cannabis exude a unique bouquet of aromas depending on the variety of origin. This means the smells, flavours and effects are capable of complementing one another.”  

Leafly even has a Cannabis and Coffee Pairing Guide – a tool, we have used to help us select beans for OG Koffee and Girl Scout Coffee.

But what is it that takes this pairing beyond an enjoyable, recreational ritual? 


After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream, before travelling to your brain. In the brain, caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter, adenosine. This causes other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine to increase, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.

The potential benefits of drinking coffee, backed by science: 

  1. Coffee can help users feel less tired and increase energy levels (1).
  2. Can make you happier (23).
  3. Can help you burn fat (4 – with references to multiple studies).
  4. Can dramatically improve physical performance (56).
  5. Contains essential nutrients (7).
  6. Source of antioxidants – making it particularly important to the average, Western diet (8).
  7. In fact coffee may even boost longevity (9).
  8. The average serving of black coffee, contains fewer than 5 calories. (14)

Put simply, coffee may be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet – particularly in comparison to all of the other on-the-go drinks on offer. But what about cannabis, what role does it play in your cup of CBD Coffee?


At this stage, it is important to separate CBD from cannabis. CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is one of the many chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, which occur naturally in cannabis and hemp plants.  

CBD is non-psychoactive and is the primary cannabinoid associated with the health and wellness benefits of cannabis consumption.

The potential benefits of CBD, backed by science: 

  1. CBD may reduce anxiety and stress – a common side effect of too much caffeine (10).

    These qualities are linked to CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behaviour.”Healthline
  2. Anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects (11). 
  3. Might have neuro-protective properties (12).

Researchers believe that CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signalling systems may provide benefits for those with neurological disorders. 

  1. Could benefit heart health – including the ability to lower high blood pressure (13).

Coffee + CBD =

Combine the two lists above and you have the potential for a truly powerful beverage. One of the most commonly touted benefits of adding CBD to coffee is its ability to combat anxiety caused by too much caffeine. 

While the benefits of combining the two may be clear after reviewing the above, there are not many studies, yet, that focus on the relationship between coffee and cannabis or CBD. 

However, there is one, which found something interesting. A study published in The Journal of Internal Medicine found that coffee and cannabis activate some of the same pathways in the brain:

“The neurotransmitters related to the endocannabinoid system — the same ones affected by cannabis —decreased after drinking four to eight cups of coffee in a day. That’s the opposite of what occurs after someone uses cannabis.”

The Journal of Internal Medicine

“It’s unclear at this point in time the exact interaction between CBD and caffeine,” she said. “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.”

Dr Bonni Goldstein, MD of Canna-Centers

With more research, the effects may become clearer, but with both the coffee and cannabis plant being very complex, it may take some time to identify and clarify, how both effect the body and brain through systems such as the endocannabinoid system. Until then we can only research, experiment and share our experiences in a safe and responsible manner.