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Can You Smoke Coffee? Why This Trend is a Bad Idea

man rolling a joint paper with coffee

As with most trends falling in and out of favor, viral doesn’t always mean good. Smoking coffee, a viral trend across the internet and younger social circles, is a controversial mash-up of our morning caffeine fix and a smoking habit or nicotine addiction. Many coffee lovers can’t tolerate the morning without a cup of coffee, and rightfully so. Caffeine provides the kickstart we need to get going on our day. Caffeine and coffee have been around for centuries, but this new technique is extremely dangerous.

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Smoking Coffee

While there is controversy over how many people are smoking coffee and if the trend is indeed viral or just sensationalized news, inhaling caffeine and smoking coffee is still dangerous.

The effects of caffeine are well known, at least when you drink it. When you drink coffee, the natural stimulant helps you stay awake and keeps you more alert. Caffeine’s main effects are on the brain, where it can reduce the feelings of tiredness and may also increase adrenaline levels and overall brain activity. Because of its primary effect on your brain, caffeine is commonly referred to as a psychoactive drug.

However, when you ingest caffeine through smoking coffee grounds, it can trigger an almost immediate caffeine overdose. According to people who claim to have smoked coffee grounds, as no official research or studies have taken place to date, the seriousness of your side effects depends on the amount of coffee smoked and how it was smoked.

Smoking a small portion of coffee grounds mixed with tobacco reportedly triggers a rush of lightheadedness or dizziness. However, the side effects of a caffeine overdose triggered via smoking can include convulsions, diarrhea, dizziness, hallucinations, vomiting, fevers, and more. The chances of experiencing the adverse side effects were more common in people who used other inhalation methods to smoke the coffee, such as a bong or crack pipe to smoke brewed coffee rather than mixing the grounds with regular tobacco.

ground coffee in a jar
Image Credit: AtlasStudio, Shutterstock

Additional Health Risks

As if the potent combination of inhaling caffeine and nicotine wasn’t enough on its own, smoking anything, in general, carries its own associated health risks.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) states that all tobacco-like products, even e-cigarettes and smokeless cigarettes, still contain harmful chemicals even if they don’t  contain tobacco. According to the ACS,  herbal cigarettes with no tobacco produce tar, particulates, and carbon monoxide when smoked: a serious danger to your health. Inhaling the substances can cause respiratory irritation and damage, resulting in coughing and long-term shortness of breath. Long-term exposure to these chemicals via smoking will also increase your risk of developing lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.

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The Bottom Line

Regardless of your opinions on smoking or vaping, smoking coffee poses a severe health risk that is unlikely to cause anything other than adverse health effects. You are better off drinking your morning cup of coffee than anything else. Drinking a cup of coffee has proven health benefits and little to no adverse side effects when consumed in moderation. If it is a high you are after, smoking coffee is not the way to get it.


Featured Image Credit: aushilfe444, Shutterstock

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Samantha Reed

Samantha teaches middle school English language arts and has been a freelance writer since 2014. She has also worked at literary magazines and newspapers as an editor and as a writer. You could say that writing is her passion! She also enjoys a great cup of coffee and has a cat named Raven.

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