How Does Coffee Compare to Cannabis?
Apr 21 2019
While coffee and cannabis are two very different substances, a new study claims that the two target the same metabolism-influencing neurotransmitters in the brain, though trigger different responses. The findings were published by the Journal of Internal Medicine and suggest that coffee actively binds to the same endogenous chemicals associated with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is usually triggered by smoking or consuming cannabis.
The benefits of cannabis are well-published, with the flowering plant used to regulate the mood, manage chronic pain and treat insomnia. When consumed the drug binds to endocannabinoid system neurotransmitters that deliver messages between the nerve cells and activate the benefits. Now, a team of researchers has discovered that coffee binds to the same neurotransmitters but elicits a different response. While cannabis heightens activity in the body's endocannabinoid system, drinking coffee slows down the system's neurotransmitters.
Chicago researchers discover new endocannabinoid pathways
To investigate the impact of coffee on the human body, a team of Chicago researchers used blood samples to measure more than 700 metabolites from 47 participants over the course of three months. Participants were asked to abstain from drinking coffee during the first month, then progress to four cups a day in the second month and eight cups a day in the third month. The team found that of the 700 metabolites studied, 115 were influenced by drinking coffee.
"These are entirely new pathways by which coffee might affect health," comments Marilyn Cornelis, lead author of the study and researcher at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Now we want to delve deeper and study how these changes affect the body."
Unraveling the health benefits of coffee
Cornelis muses that excessive consumption of coffee could trigger a decrease in metabolites and suggests the reaction could be a physical adaptation to attempt to rebalance stress levels. She adds that the study could explain why coffee is linked to a host of health benefits, including weight management, glucose-regulating effects and a lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes.
As well as links to the endocannabinoid system, the team found that coffee influences certain metabolites associated with the androsteroid system. This suggests that caffeine could be used to flush steroids from the body, similar to drugs used to treat cancer and other aggressive diseases.
Want to know more about the latest scientific studies concerning cannabis? Don't miss 'Good is Not a Number - Challenges in the Cannabis Extraction Manufacturing: Transitioning from Traditional Subjective to Modern QC/QA/PAT Chromatographic Analysis'.
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