I WAS at my local coffee shop, and the man ordering in front of me was jacked up on too many quad-shot lattes—way, way too many. I knew they were quad shots because everyone within two blocks knew. "I REALLY NEED THE QUADS TO MAKE THIS GUY GET IT IN GEAR," he shouted while gesturing to himself. "GIT 'ER DONE, HUH? GIT 'ER DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE, MAN! YEAH! THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT."
Meanwhile, my regular barista chatted with me while preparing my weak little single-shot latte, asking if I was there to work on a "pot story." Captain Jacked-Up Sparrow dismissively snorted and turned to his semi-deaf friend, shakily shouting, "I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY MADE THAT SHIT LEGAL. IT MAKES PEOPLE WHO SMOKE IT SO ANNOYING."
Our speed-freak hero makes a point. While the overwhelming majority of cannabis users are mellow and well behaved, we've all been around someone whose behavior is negatively impacted when they partake. ("Dancing" Phish concertgoer with hula hoop, I'm looking at you.) Yet we can say the same for heavy coffee drinkers, which begs the question: Which is more annoying and potentially dangerous, coffee or cannabis?
I enjoy the devil caffeine. It's a helpful tool that assists my intentions, is an age-old social ritual, and has miraculous properties when sleep is in short supply. The same can be said for cannabis (except for the sleep part), but give someone "one too many" bong hits, and you have a person who may get paranoid, sleepy, giggly, or most likely, ravenous. Give someone too many caffeine-based beverages, though, and you might face a more serious situation than watching a person get fascinated with magnets.
A safe dose of caffeine is up to 400 milligrams a day, according to the Mayo Clinic. For adults, that's four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of soda, or two energy drinks. Adolescents should limit intake to 100 milligrams a day. Gulp down 500-600 milligrams, and you can expect insomnia, restlessness, nervousness, irritability, upset stomach, rapid heartbeat, and muscle tremors.
As for cannabis, even if all your THC intake comes from an edible, you eat too much, and think you're going to die, you simply will not. But deaths from caffeine pills and powders do happen. Last year, two people died in the US after taking them, and in Europe three others deaths were attributed to overconsumption. Never mind the effects of giving up coffee, which can be fatal to those around you.
For me, the Northwest Speedball (a caffeinated drink plus a joint) is the best of both worlds. I'll pass on the quad shot and the 200-milligram THC cookie though, but I know a certain caffeinated someone who might benefit from it.