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CBD and Coffee: Boosting Productivity

 CBD and Coffee: Boosting Productivity

When it comes to boosting productivity, many people turn to a fan-favorite beverage — coffee. 

But, what if there were another way to get your morning boost without enduring the side effects of caffeine (like the jitters or digestive system irritation)? That’s where products like CBD oil come in. 

As awareness and scientific data about CBD grows, more and more people are considering the relationship between CBD and coffee: Is one more effective than the other for boosting productivity?

CBD’s connections to mood and wakefulness are still being studied, but early data suggests that CBD could positively contribute to both. 

In this guide, we’ll explore this conversation in detail, breaking down what we already know about productivity, coffee, the potential role of CBD and which of the two options may be right for you. 

What We Know About Productivity

Productivity generally describes how much energy you need to achieve the goals you set for yourself — simply put, productivity is a measure of how well you get stuff done. 

While many people only associate productivity with energy level, scientists, mental health experts and labor researchers already know that productivity is a much more nuanced issue:

  • Worker health significantly impacts productivity. Costs associated with workplace absenteeism and reduced output at work can be higher than direct medical costs for individuals. US employers lose approximately $1,685 per year to productivity losses due to personal or family health crises. 
  • Socioeconomic status can also impact workers’ productivity levels, especially for people working from home. 
  • Workplace conditions like low pay, poor communication, lackluster supervision and low-quality job training also impact productivity — no matter how much energy you have, your workplace may simply not provide a supportive environment where you can thrive. 

The factors above are only some of the reasons why talking about productivity is complicated. While neither CBD products like CBD oil nor coffee can change any of these, they could still play a role in your personal productivity plan. 

Coffee and Increased Productivity

Before we begin to compare CBD with coffee, let’s explore why coffee may make you feel more productive in the first place. 

There are a few reasons why you might consider coffee to be a crucial element of your work output:

  • Caffeine content – Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant drug that boosts alertness. Caffeine can temporarily increase your energy level, which could motivate you to start working. 
  • Adrenaline production – Caffeine can also cause the body to produce adrenaline (also called epinephrine), a hormone and neurotransmitter that can alter your metabolism, excitement, focus, attention and panic. Some people drink multiple cups of coffee per day to stave off caffeine crashes — the result of tricking your brain into thinking it has more energy than it actually does. 

What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a mild nervous system stimulant that can boost your alertness, giving you “energy” to get up and start moving. But, does caffeine actually increase your energy level? Let’s take a look:

  • Caffeine doesn’t produce additional energy, but it is an adenosine receptor blocker.
  • When your body needs rest or recovery, adenosine attaches to receptors in your brain to signal the start of the sleep cycle. This is one of the reasons why humans experience sleepiness.
  • When caffeine blocks your adenosine receptors, it convinces the brain to stay alert — even when it needs rest. 

On average, an eight-ounce cup of regular coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine. 

Coffee and Energy Level

So, while your morning coffee doesn’t increase your energy level, it convinces your brain to stay alert even if you’re sleepy.

But, as we discussed above, energy level isn’t the only element that influences how productive you are. In fact, the temporary alertness provided by caffeine may be insignificant to your work output if:

  • You have trouble focusing
  • You’re extremely sleep-deprived
  • You’re feeling restless from inactivity 
  • You’re experiencing the jitters

We’re not saying that caffeine isn’t increasing your productivity — but, we are saying that there are other factors to consider when setting productivity goals and choosing the tools to help you achieve them. 

The Role of Adrenaline

As a central nervous system stimulant, caffeine causes neural excitation, which triggers your brain to make a powerful neurotransmitter — adrenaline.

Also called epinephrine, adrenaline is a critical component of your body’s “fight-or-flight” response. 

By convincing your brain that it’s under threat, adrenaline can impact your:

  • Attention and focus
  • Panic level
  • Metabolism

Each of these factors can impact your productivity. When your body is on high alert, it’s more likely to be on the lookout for danger, potentially increasing your focus and attention span. But, your awareness can increase to the point of panic. As your body metabolizes nutrients in its excited state, you might experience distracting hunger pangs or other digestive side effects. 

The Crash

Caffeine doesn’t last forever. While breakdown rates depend on a variety of factors, caffeine generally disappears from the body between 1.5 and 9.5 hours after ingestion. 

As caffeine disappears, so do its effects — enter the caffeine crash. 

Your body begins to exit the excited, fight-or-flight response and adenosine floods back to your receptors, which were temporarily blocked by caffeine. Both of these can cause significant (and often very sudden) tiredness. 

The caffeine crash isn’t a new phenomenon, and it’s a common side effect of stimulant drugs in general (like methylphenidate, a drug commonly used to treat inattention in some patients). 

CBD: Can It Make You More Productive?

None of the information above paints coffee in a very positive light. But, what if there were another way to unlock productivity? Before we get into CBD and coffee benefits to help you choose between these two tools, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of CBD. 

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of nearly 80 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. This hemp plant is one type of Cannabis plant that produces biomass high in CBD and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — thus, most of the world’s CBD supply is derived from this hemp plant.

CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, but the brain responds to them very differently. While THC produces an intoxicating effect in certain quantities, CBD generally doesn’t produce intoxication symptoms. 

But, CBD does interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a whole-body network of endogenic cannabinoids (compounds that your body produces on its own), cannabinoid receptors and enzymes that catalyze cannabinoid metabolism.

How CBD Could Impact the Brain

While scientists have been studying CBD and other cannabinoids for years, research into the potential health benefits of CBD has skyrocketed in the last decade. 

Current evidence suggests connections between CBD supplementation and positive wellness outcomes related to:

  • Mood
  • Alertness
  • Digestion
  • Skin health

There is even an FDA-approved CBD prescription medication on the market today — it’s used to for seizures. 

CBD’s connections to mood and wakefulness are still being studied, but early data suggests that CBD could positively contribute to both. 

CBD vs. Coffee for Productivity: Which Is Right for You?

So, if CBD is a promising alternative to caffeine, should you quit your morning coffee sipping in favor of a CBD supplement? Let’s explore which option might be right for you.

CBD vs. Coffee in Your Everyday Routine

Medical literature strongly supports the effectiveness of a daily routine for achieving goals and positive health outcomes. That’s right — your morning routine could be just as crucial for boosting productivity as the elements of the routine itself. 

So, if you’re considering a switch from CBD to coffee, think about how this change would impact your routine:

  • If you like to take your mornings slow with a hot cup of regular coffee and a quick scroll through social media, think about how that would change if you switched to a CBD supplement.
  • If you gulp down a cup of hot or cold brew coffee in the morning whenever you have a spare moment, consider how much easier it might be to pop in a CBD gummy. 
  • If you don’t have a routine, taking each day as it comes without a strict schedule, consider how a well-formed routine could impact your everyday performance without changing your supplements. 


Routines are key, but we still have to adapt to the occasional schedule change or unexpected detour. How tolerant are you of change — especially when you don’t have time for that morning cup of instant coffee or cold brew coffee?

Like other stimulant drugs, caffeine (and, thus, coffee) can be habit-forming for some populations, meaning that you could develop a dependence on it. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t provide any abuse or dependence potential (according to the World Health Organization). 

There are a few reasons why we become addicted to caffeine:

  • Sleepiness can be inconvenient. And, when we restrict adenosine for prolonged periods, attempts to cut back on caffeine can cause a profound rebound effect. 
  • People often ingest caffeine multiple times each day to avoid the dreaded crash — since the only way to avoid it is to introduce more caffeine, this can lead to a cycle of dependence. 
  • For many people, increased energy is all they need to increase their work output. And, when we see positive results (like better productivity and its associated advantages), it can be difficult to quit using the tool that helps us achieve them. 

But, if you’re trying to avoid chemical dependency, opting for CBD over coffee might be the better move for your personal wellness plan. 

Your Desired Outcome

What do you really want to get out of a supplement or substance like caffeine or CBD? Do you want increased energy, prolonged alertness or a lifestyle that’s more productive in general?

Neither coffee nor CBD is going to magically make you more productive. To do that, you’ll need to focus on multiple aspects of your life, like:

  • Your overall satisfaction with your career or the work you’re doing
  • How your personal choices impact your wellness as a whole
  • The factors outside of your personal decisions that impact your ability to meet your goals (and what you can do about these)

Perhaps both options speak to you — why not try making your own CBD infused coffee? Or, why not try microdosing CBD oil to start? These could be excellent methods for reaping the potential positive aspects of CBD supplementation while keeping your favorite caffeinated beverage in hand.

Now that you’ve learned about coffee and products like CBD Gummies for energy, what about CBD for sleep? Learn more about the connection (if there is one) between CBD and melatonin for supporting a healthy sleep cycle.

Zebra CBD: The Cannabis Industry’s Trusted Source

While you might feel like you have to choose between CBD and coffee, that’s not the only option — maybe your lifestyle would benefit from both. The information above is designed to help you make an informed decision that works for your individual wellness journey. 

If you’re looking for more high-quality information about CBD or want to browse CBD products, look no further than Zebra CBD. As an industry leader, we’re committed to finding and sharing useful and reputable information about CBD — and providing the lifestyle community with CBD products that are tested for purity and label accuracy. 

Learn more on our blog or browse our collection


US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Worker Productivity Measures.

Louisiana State University. How Socioeconomic Status Can Affect the Productivity of Remote Workers.

Sage Journals. Factors Affecting the Productivity of Government Workers.

Harvard University. Caffeine.

Brown University. What Are the Effects of Caffeine?

Cleveland Clinic. Epinephrine (Adrenaline).

American College of Lifestyle Medicine. The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine.

Harvard University. Cannabidiol (CBD): What We Know and What We Don’t.

Co-founder of Copycat Copywriters, Adam has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies on a wide array of topics, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

About the Author

Adam Biederman Image

Adam Biederman

As co-founder and lead writer of Copycat Copywriters, one of Adam’s primary areas of expertise is within the budding CBD and cannabis space. He has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies, producing a collection of white papers, press releases, blog posts, articles and ebooks about a wide array of industry-related subjects, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

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