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How does marijuana interact with other substances we frequently use?

De: Daniel C. Culture

You feel that without coffee the mornings would be impossible to handle; you like to have a drink on the weekends and you sometimes use melatonin to help you sleep better … but, do you use cannabis? If this plant accompanies you in your routines and you want to know how it interacts with these substances, in this article we tell you everything you should know to make the most of each of them.

We talk about interaction when two substances act differently when they are mixed in our body, as to how they would if we took them separately. They are classified into several types depending on whether their effects increase or decrease due to interaction:

–  Antagonistic: the effects of substances are reduced when taken together.

–  Additive: substances have the same effect together as separately.

Synergy: the combination of both substances increases their effects with respect to how they would act separately.

This type of interaction means that mixing substances with opposite actions, or mixing similar substances, does not always result in the desired effect. We describe below the most common results that can occur when combining marijuana with other substances that we consume daily.

Marijuana and caffeine, two friends destined to understand each other

Let’s say you start the day off on the right foot, you wake and bake with coffee. It’s hard to describe why this mixture feels so good. But does cannabis reduce the effects of caffeine?

Both marijuana and caffeine cause an increase in dopamine levels through various mechanisms. Findings suggest that when taken at the same time, this dopamine boost could be responsible for increased feelings of happiness and euphoria.

But according to some studies, mixing caffeine and THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid of marijuana, would not be such a good idea. This is because caffeine can increase the THC capacity to impair short-term memory, one of the side effects of this cannabinoid.

This occurs due to the ability to interact between endocannabinoid system CB1 receptors and adenosine receptors, which regulate neuronal functions, among others, and are associated with drowsiness.

While THC generates its psychoactive effects by activating CB1 receptors, caffeine produces its stimulating activity by blocking adenosine receptors. Both receptors modulate very similar physiological functions and interact with each other, enhancing THC side effects. This results in further alteration of the motor system and memory.

However, both cannabis and caffeine are natural compounds. The interaction of both is generally safe and well tolerated by most people, as long as you do not consume excessive amounts of coffee, as this can lead to heart palpitations.

Marijuana and alcohol, synergy without control

You’ve been busy all day and it’s time for a drink after work, but you wonder how it will affect your body if you also use cannabis. A few years ago, an American study found that alcohol facilitates the absorption of THC and increases its effects, so it would explain why consumers mix both substances for recreational purposes. But beware, because this is not the best combination either. 

According to a study published in 2021, mixing marijuana and alcohol increases risky behaviour and greatly decreases the driving ability compared to when consumed separately. So, if you have to take the car to return home, it may be advisable to wait to consume marijuana on the couch, because that glass that normally would not diminish your abilities, has suddenly multiplied its effects.

This is because both substances interact synergistically, combining their sedative effects, increasing cognitive decline and psychomotor system deterioration. In addition, this mixture also increases the risk of addiction to alcohol and marijuana. It does so by amplifying the brain reward system, unlike when taken separately.

Cannabis and melatonin, ‘shaken, not stirred’

It’s the end of the day, but you can’t sleep. A common remedy to sleep deprivation and insomnia is melatonin, a hormone that we naturally produce in our body and that can be taken as sleep supplement. On the other hand, many cannabis users also use this herb to fall into the arms of Morpheus so it is not surprising that some decide to mix both substances seeking to enhance their effects. But… is this actually happening?

According to some studies, THC promotes the natural secretion of melatonin in our body, so some sleep experts claim that mixing both substances can cause an overdose of melatonin. This would involve suffering from drowsiness in untimely hours, nausea, irritability, dizziness and headaches, an unpleasant feeling altogether.

For this reason, it is advisable to lower the melatonin dose or to remove this supplement from your daily routine if you consume marijuana at night. However, while this is true for varieties with higher THC concentrations, CBD extracts can be supplemented differently with melatonin. The same goes for caffeine and alcohol, as you can see below.

CBD interactions with caffeine, alcohol and melatonin

CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anxiolytic properties, among many others, so it can also interact with those substances that we consume daily.

CBD and caffeine

The anxiolytic properties of CBD have generated that some coffee consumers have decided to mix both substances searching for the stimulating effects of caffeine without the anxiety that it can generate.

This new way of drinking coffee has been a big hit in the United States, where you can find macchiato with a dash of CBD oil in some trendy cafes. However, science has not yet ruled on the effectiveness of this combination, so we should wait for more data when trying this “new American coffee”.

CBD and alcohol

While cannabis and alcohol use can increase addiction, CBD helps relieve alcohol withdrawal symptoms. In addition, regular administration of this cannabinoid is thought to help reduce alcohol consumption, although more research is needed.

CBD has also been shown to reduce the incidence of liver cirrhosis and to minimise hangovers the next day. For many people who are experienced cannabis users and know how to drink responsibly, the occasional mix of both substances should not represent any major problem.

CBD and the melatonin

The CBD soothing effect seems to combine perfectly with melatonin to generate a deep and pleasant sleep. Therefore, some studies claim that this winning blend can help boost the effects of your melatonin daily dose.

This is due to the combination of the best of both worlds: the ability of melatonin to restore circadian rhythms and the analgesic action of CBD, which allows greater neuromuscular relaxation while helping to decrease anxiety.

Thus, we usually consume many different substances combined on a regular basis. But keep in mind that not all mixtures are what they seem and you need to know their interactions to use them responsibly. Because proper information can even help you make the most of your day-to-day life, from waking up to bedtime.

A Kannabia seed Company vende aos seus clientes um produto colecionável, uma lembrança. Não podemos e não devemos dar conselhos de cultivo porque nosso produto não se destina a esse fim.

Não nos responsabilizamos pelo uso ilícito que possa ser feito por terceiros das informações aqui publicadas. O cultivo de cannabis para autoconsumo é uma atividade sujeita a certas restrições legais que variam de estado para estado. Recomendamos rever a legislação vigente no país de residência para evitar incorrer na realização de uma atividade ilegal.

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