America's War on Drugs has been raging since the 1970s, however, the treatment of different drugs varies a lot across the country. This can create a lot of confusion about which drugs are safe to use and which aren't.
Fifteen states, for example, have legalized the use of cannabis but it remains illegal in seven others. In contrast, extremely popular drugs like caffeine in coffee are barely considered drugs at all. However, this doesn't necessarily mean they're safer to use.
So how do cannabis and coffee affect your body and is one more dangerous than the other? Keep reading to find out more!
Caffeine: A Popular Drug in Plain Sight
It may not surprise you to hear that caffeine, found in coffee, is a drug. After all, its stimulating properties are one of the reasons that so many people drink it regularly.
Caffeine is also known as theine, guaranine, or methyl theobromine. Yet we still generally consider it, like sugar or alcohol, as part of a food group rather than as a drug.
Nevertheless, it is a psychoactive substance that can be found in more than sixty different plant species around the world and we've been drinking it for thousands of years.
But just because it occurs naturally this doesn't mean it is good for us. In fact, the effects that coffee can have on our bodies are extensive and can be long-lasting.
Yet this doesn't stop us from drinking it on a regular basis. In fact, on any given day in the United States, we consume around 400 million cups of coffee! So how does the way we treat coffee compare to how we treat cannabis use across the country?
Cannabis: The Most Popular "Illegal" Drug?
The recreational and medicinal use of cannabis is still a hot topic with a lot of Americans and one that many people don't agree on. You only need to look at the different ways that states treat cannabis use to see that!
It is currently legal in fifteen states including:
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
However, it is still fully illegal in Wisconsin, Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina. Other states such as Minnesota have decriminalized it and allow medical use of it. Others have decriminalized it or only allow the medical use of marijuana. If you are interested in reading about where cannabis is legal in Europe, click here!
Whether you grow your own weed or buy it over the counter, a lot of people consider cannabis in whatever form it comes to be a "soft" drug compared to other controlled substances. In fact, the medical benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids are now more widely used than ever before. Nearly 35 million Americans admit to being regular cannabis users.
So how do these two drugs compare in terms of risks?
You might think because caffeine is legal throughout America, while cannabis isn't, that one is more dangerous than the other. However, this isn't necessarily the case. To find out which one is better for you, let's take a closer look at how coffee and cannabis affect you.
How Do the Effects of Coffee and Cannabis Compare?
Coffee has psychoactive effects, acting as a stimulant for your body, which is one of the "benefits" of drinking it. This is why people often refer to needing their morning coffee to get going or turn to it when they have a lot to get done. Some of the stimulating effects of coffee include:
- Decreasing lethargy and sleepiness
- Decreasing appetite
- Helping with concentration and focus
Interestingly, coffee effects appear to be more noticeable in people who use it on a regular basis.
Cannabis can also be a stimulant, however, this depends slightly on the dose and strain of cannabis that you take. Other strains are known for their:
- Relaxing properties
- Ability to relieve pain
- Performance-enhancing effects
- Hallucinogenic properties
When it comes to cannabis, it seems that there is a strain for almost anything. And we're only just scratching the surface of figuring out what this drug can do!
The Overdose Risks of Coffee Compared to Cannabis
When talking about the risks of cannabis and other drugs, it is important to clarify what exactly it is that we're looking at.
One of the most immediate risks that taking drugs poses to users is the risk of overdosing. This is why some drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, are considered more dangerous than others. This is because statistically more people overdose from them each year.
Both caffeine and cannabis are fairly low-risk when it comes to overdosing. In fact, there has never been a recorded death caused by a cannabis overdose.
Compared to this then, the risk of overdosing on caffeine or coffee is higher, with a few people dying from this every year. A lethal dose of caffeine can be anything between 3,200 mg and 10,000 mg. With around 180 mg in each cup of coffee, you are fairly safe when drinking coffee.
However, if you combine coffee with other caffeine-rich products, such as caffeine powder or anti-sleep medication, your intake will quickly climb to dangerous heights! Overdosing on caffeine is also much easier for young or older people.
It is important to note that both drugs can have unpleasant side effects even when taken in small doses (more on this in a second!) This doesn't mean that you have overdosed. Often this depends a lot on how you were feeling before taking either drug and on any underlying medical conditions.
Overusing caffeine over long periods also appears to be more dangerous than overusing cannabis. Overusing caffeine can result in:
- Irregular heartbeats
All these can be lethal. In contrast, cannabis doesn't appear to have any such long-term, lethal effects on its users.
Withdrawal from Coffee Compared to Cannabis
All drugs affect your neurological pathways, which means that your body can become reliant on them after a period of time. Some drugs are a lot easier to become reliant on than others. This means when you stop taking them, you will notice symptoms of withdrawal as your body adjusts to not using the drug.
Common symptoms of coffee withdrawal include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Confusion and restlessness
- Mood swings and anxiety
- Heart palpitations
- Raised blood pressure
Usually, these will be worse during the first one or two days of not drinking coffee and then they should subside. Their severity will depend a lot on how much coffee you usually drink.
In comparison, the withdrawal symptoms of cannabis are much milder. In fact, a lot of users don't even notice them.
You may notice that you don't have the same feelings that you do when using cannabis. So if cannabis usually relaxes you, you may feel more tense than usual. Obviously, if you are using cannabis to manage a medical condition, the symptoms of this will return once you stop taking it.
How Else Can Cannabis and Coffee Impair You?
We've looked at some of the major risks of coffee compared with cannabis, such as the risk of overdosing on or overusing them. However, these are the most extreme ways in which these two drugs can affect you. When deciding which is safer, it's important to look at the other ways that they might impair you.
Some of the common side effects of caffeine include:
- More rapid heartbeat
- Confusion, dizziness, or drowsiness
- Blurred vision
- Flushed skin
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach aches
- Difficulty breathing
- Anxiety and irritability
- Cold sweats
- Ketones in your urine
The potential side effects of cannabis are a lot less extensive in comparison and require you to take a fairly large dose of the drug. They include:
- Cognitive impairment
- Anxiety, panic, dysphoria, or paranoia
- Psycho-motor impairment
With both drugs, you will find that the side effects are more severe when you take bigger doses.
Cannabis can be slightly riskier to take if you aren't used to it as its effects can vary depending on the strain, your experience taking it, and your age. This is why having age restrictions on the legalization of cannabis is still important.
Derivatives of cannabis, such as cannabis oil, that do not contain THC should not have any of these side effects.
Reconsider Your Understand of Cannabis Today!
As you can see, when it comes to safety, taking cannabis is actually a lot safer than drinking coffee on a regular basis. And hopefully, in years to come the legalization of cannabis will allow us to compare them even more directly.
If you're ready to start growing your own weed then head over to our shop now to find all the supplies you'll need. Grobo's automated grow boxes use deep water culture and a hydroponic technique to help you grow whatever you want. All you have to do is choose a plant, pick a grow recipe, and let Grobo work its magic!