It’s well known that a morning cup of coffee jolts you awake. But experts have exposed coffee affects your metabolism in many other ways, as well as your metabolism of steroids and the neurotransmitters typically linked to marijuana.

In a study of coffee consumption, researchers were surprised to discover coffee altered many more metabolites in the blood than previously known. Metabolites are chemicals in the blood that change after we eat and drink or for a diversity of other reasons.

The neurotransmitters related to the endocannabinoid system — the same ones affected by marijuana — reduced after drinking four to eight cups of coffee in a day. That’s the opposite of what occurs after someone uses marijuana. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that transport messages between nerve cells.

Cannabinoids are the chemicals that give the marijuana plant its medical and recreational properties. The body also naturally produces endocannabinoids, which mimic cannabinoid activity.

In addition, certain metabolites related to the androsteroid system augmented after drinking four to eight cups of coffee in a day, which suggests coffee might facilitate the excretion or elimination of steroids. Because the steroid pathway is a focus for certain diseases including cancers, coffee may have an effect on these diseases as well.

Little is known about how coffee directly impacts health. In the new study, researchers applied advanced technology that allowed them to measure hundreds of metabolites in human blood samples from a coffee trial for the first time. The study generates new hypotheses about coffee’s link to health and new directions for coffee research.