Can You Get High With Coffee?

We all know coffee contains caffeine, in fact, we anticipate the rush of energy it brings. We hear people claim coffee is addictive, and the flavor does seem to be something you would have a hard time giving up. Caffeine in coffee is a stimulant and caffeine indeed gives you a buzz. However, is it possible to get high with coffee? I mean caffeine is already said to be addictive, what if it hinders your senses too? Well, we’re here to find out.

A cup of coffee with coffee beans in the background

The Buzz Around Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant drug, the use of which is common amongst people these days. It is not just found in coffee, but soft drinks have quantities of it too. The use of caffeine in coffee is extremely prevalent in society, with 7 out of 10 drinking coffee every week, and 62% of people drinking coffee every day. Coffee consumption has gone up by 6% since 2015.

Caffeine is so popular amongst people for several reasons. First, it prevents you from feeling sleepy by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a hormone in the brain that’s accumulation signals to the brain that it is tired. If adenosine receptors in the brain are blocked, the brain doesn’t comprehend tiredness, and you can go on longer.

Caffeine also stimulates the release of adrenaline in the body, which causes you to feel energetic and excited. However, the thing about caffeine that deserves the most attention is that it stimulates the local release of dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone in the body that is related to happiness. This means drinking caffeine cause makes you feel happy, if not euphoric, which is similar to other drugs. However, no evidence suggests that caffeine can release so much dopamine to make you feel high like drugs do.

A blonde woman sipping a cup of coffee

Can Coffee Make You High?

While it is true that coffee consumption can produce effects similar to other drugs, there are no medical instances that prove that its effects are very dangerous. There are a lot of cases where people have been admitted to the emergency room after drinking coffee, however, coffee was always mixed with other drugs. There are no cases of coffee causing someone life-threatening damage by itself.

However, caffeine is addictive, and while they are not life-threatening, you can see the effects of caffeine overdose very easily. Some common symptoms of caffeine overdose are dizziness, diarrhea, increased thirst, insomnia, headache, fever, irritability, to name some minor symptoms. However, more symptoms present themselves in the cases of serious overdoses. If you experience trouble breathing, vomiting, hallucinations, confusion, chest pain, irregular or fast heartbeat, uncontrollable muscle movements, convulsions, or see someone around you experiencing these symptoms take them to a hospital as soon as you can.

A cup of coffee with a spoon

Withdrawal Symptoms

Caffeine causes addiction like other drugs, however, caffeine addiction is milder in comparison. Nonetheless, when you give up caffeine after becoming used to it for a long period, there are certain withdrawal symptoms you experience. Withdrawal symptoms of coffee can be classified into two groups: the physical and mental effects of withdrawal. You get irritable, depressed, and have difficulty concentrating. In contrast, physical symptoms of caffeine include headache, fatigue, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and muscle pain and stiffness.

Normally these withdrawal symptoms manifest themselves 12-24 hours after you stop consuming caffeine. These symptoms can last anywhere from a week to a month if you don’t go back to caffeine. If you manage to hold out, you should be perfectly fine without caffeine after this time. Withdrawal symptoms are one other proof that you can get high with caffeine.

A cup 3 quarters full with black coffee

What Makes the Effect of Caffeine In Coffee Vary?

Age Factor

Research proves that caffeine sensitivity in an individual increases with age. This means if you are in your 40s, you’ll feel a more profound effect from the same amount of coffee you had without a problem when you were in your 20s. About 200 milligrams to 300 milligrams of caffeine are okay for all groups. Here’s how much caffeine you approximately consume for different amounts of coffee.

  1. A 6-ounce cup of coffee—100 mg
  2. A 6-ounce cup of tea—70 mg
  3. A can of cola—50 mg
  4. An ounce of chocolate—6 mg

Any more caffeine than this can have detrimental effects for people regardless of their age group. You can read more about this here- 8 Drawbacks of Drinking Too Much Coffee.

Your Health

Yes, your health has a big part in how you react to caffeine in coffee. Your liver metabolizes caffeine before removing it from your body. If your liver can’t metabolize caffeine properly, and you don’t reduce your caffeine intake, you can seriously damage your liver. This is because when the liver releases enzymes to metabolize caffeine, its sugar intake stops temporarily. This causes a decrease in blood glucose levels.  Since the liver cannot take in new sugar, it burns the glycogen stored inside it. If too much liver glycogen is burned, it can affect liver functioning, and even lead to cirrhosis.

Pregnant women should also be concerned about their caffeine intake. While caffeine cannot make them high because their system metabolizes it faster, it can cause them health issues too.

Any Medication You Are Taking

Some antibiotics don’t agree with caffeine, and the two drugs should never be taken together. You should always ask your physician if it is okay to have coffee with the medicines you are taking.

A cup of cappuccino with a leaf pattern drawn on the foam

How to Quit Coffee the Right Way?

We’ve discussed how giving up coffee can lead to withdrawal symptoms. However, there are ways to minimize, if not prevent these problems from occurring. The trick is to reduce your caffeine intake slowly until you can cut yourself off completely. Take special care to check the amount of caffeine in everything you consume.  If you like tea, brew it for less time to extract as little caffeine as possible. You should also switch to decaffeinated coffee, tea, and soda to avoid a relapse.

Substitutes for Caffeine?

It’s easy to understand why someone would want to drink caffeine, after all the boost of energy it provides can be very helpful in certain situations. However, there are some safer, and simple substitutes that can provide that dose of energy.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

According to health care professionals, you need about 8-9 hours of sleep every night. This is important not only for your mental but also your physical health.

Eat Proper Meals

Our cells burn glucose to release the energy we need. This energy is what we use to function, and if you don’t provide your body with enough glucose by eating proper meals, you’ll feel down all day. To be energetic, you need to eat at least 3 meals a day, however, you can divide these into smaller portions that can be eaten throughout the day.

Walk or Jog

Exercise stimulates the release of adrenaline in the body, which helps keep you active and energetic. A morning walk is perfect for feeling energized the entire day.


Coffee can get you energetic and releases dopamine inside your body that causes you to feel happy. Coffee is also addictive to an extent, and can overdose, and withdrawal symptoms. All of these things prove that caffeine acts like a drug, however, the effect of caffeine is not so significant. Even the amount of dopamine and adrenaline caffeine causes to be released are not on par with those released by drugs. This suggests that while caffeine can make you feel happy and excited, it cannot get you high.

Bilal Ahmad

Bilal Ahmad

A coffee enthusiast on his way to exploring more about coffee while helping others solve all their Coffee Queries!