If you’re somebody who enjoys coffee but not the jitters it gives you, adding a few drops of CBD oil might be exactly what you need to enjoy a more balanced buzz in the morning. CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis (compared to its cousin THC, which is what gets you high), is known for decreasing anxiety, easing pain, and acting as a sleep-aid. Coffee shops around the country have recently jumped on the CBD train and started selling caffeinated beverages with the compound added in.
The chill-out effect produced by CBD makes some believe combining it with coffee is counterintuitive. High Times went as far as to call it “the dumbest of all coffee trends,” arguing that since coffee is used to wake people up, while CBD is used to put people to sleep, mixing them together should be an obvious no-no. But it might not be that simple.
Since caffeine is known to increase alertness but also tends to increase the stress hormone cortisol, and CBD chills you out but also is likely to make you less sharp, adding the two together could be a perfectly well-balanced beverage. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that, especially for people who suffer from high levels of anxiety that are exacerbated by coffee, adding CBD is just the ticket for counterbalancing the heightened anxious feelings that coffee can bring on.
As with most cannabis products, research on the emerging trend of CBD-spiked coffee is limited. Though, one study tested the effects of caffeine and CBD on zebrafish, and found that the addition of caffeine protected against memory loss associated with CBD use. Cannabis has also been shown in studies to decrease the frequency of migraine headaches. It also eases pain. A 2015 study by California-based company Care by Design found that using CBD for migraines decreased pain in 100 percent of cases. Given this knowledge, combining CBD with caffeine, an active ingredient in some over-the-counter headache medication, makes a fair amount of sense.
Whether you are trying to cope with anxiety, or pain, or just want to see what it feels like, it’s best to try out CBD and coffee for yourself and see what effect it has on you. A couple places you can try CBD coffee for yourself in the Bay Area are Kava Lounge on Divisadero, where they serve nitro CBD coffee both on-site and in a growler you can take to go, and Bicycle Coffee in Oakland’s Jack London Square, which sells cans of CBD cold brew.
Georgia Perry is a freelance writer currently based in Denver, Colorado. She has been published in The Atlantic, CityLab, and Vice. Follow her on Twitter @georguhperry.