What is caffeine and what does it do?


Taylor S. Fischbeck

Two Starbucks drinks displayed to show the use of caffeine in people's lives and to show how easy it is to buy caffeinated beverages.

Mason Warnick, Reporter

What exactly is caffeine? Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug. Unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world.

Caffeine is an alkaloid (a nitrogen-based plant that psychologically affects humans, such as the medical drug morphine) that grows in 60 different plant species, with Cocoa beans, tea leaves, and coffee beans being the most well known to the world.

90% of Americans consume caffeine daily, and 50% of those drinks more than three hundred milligrams of caffeine per day, making it the number one used drug.

Coffee was becoming popular in Europe in the 17th century, and caffeine was isolated from coffee in 1819, reaching tea and soda. Caffeine in its pure form is a white, bitter-tasting powder.

“I drink two cups of coffee a day,” says Jordan Credit Union employee Jake Warnick. “I drink it so that I can think and function at my job.” Jake has what is called Caffeine Addiction. Caffeine Addiction can happen when you consume at least one cup of coffee or 100 milligrams per day.

Caffeine is very addictive to the human body. Not drinking caffeine when you are addicted can cause your blood flow to slow 27%, fatigue, anxiety, migraines, depression, and irritability.

“I honestly didn’t know they have Caffeine Pills,” says Junior student at Taylorsville high Braden Fisher. Caffeine Pills can boost your metabolism for a short time, causing weight loss and hunger.

“Caffeine can have a disruptive effect on your sleep.” according to an article written for Sleep Education by Thomas m. Hefron. “The most obvious effect of the stimulant is that it can make it hard for you to fall asleep. One study also found that caffeine can delay the timing of your body clock. These effects will reduce your total sleep time”

Caffeine has a half-life of 3 to 5 hours, meaning it takes your body 3 to 5 hours to eliminate or use half of the drug, and the remaining caffeine is stored for later use.

When a person with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or more widely known as ADHD, has a caffeinated beverage in their system it reverses the effect of the drug. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it affects someone with ADHD as some medication for ADHD would, making them have a different response to caffeine such as someone without ADHD.

Caffeine consumption can cause high blood pressure, dependence on caffeine, insomnia, muscle tremors, nausea, and sweating.

Caffeine can treat and prevent premature infant breathing disorders as well as Parkinson’s Disease.

Caffeine is widely used in the United States, spreading throughout many different goods and products, from Folgers Coffee to a Hershey’s Chocolate bar. Thousands of Americans consume caffeine in tons of different ways, and they consume it daily.