Thursday, January 15, 2009

Starbucks Makes Me See Dead People

Well, not really. But a 16 oz. cup of Starbucks drip does contain enough caffeine to cause hallucinations in some people:

People who drink at least 330 milligrams of the stimulant a day were three times as likely to have hallucinations as those who consumed less than 10 milligrams a day, Durham University researchers found in a study of 219 college students published today in Personality and Individual Differences.

The amount of caffeine linked to hallucinations in the study would also be equivalent to about seven 8-ounce cups of brewed black tea or about 3 1/2 8-ounce cups of brewed black coffee, according to the Mayo Clinic Web site. One 16-ounce Starbucks Corp. drip coffee also has 330 milligrams of caffeine, according to the Starbucks Web site.

Starbucks spokeswoman Tara Darrow declined to comment in an email, saying the Seattle-based company was aware of the research but hadn’t been able to review how it was conducted.

The U.K. researchers used surveys to assess daily caffeine intake and past experience with hallucinations. Cigarette smokers, known to be more sensitive to caffeine, weren’t allowed to participate, and volunteers’ stress levels and proneness to hallucinatory experiences were taken into account.

Nine of the 22 people in the highest-caffeine group reported hearing disembodied voices, compared with three of the 22 people in the lowest-caffeine group, Jones said. Participants also reported seeing things that weren’t there and sensing the presence of dead people.(From

HT: Christopher Orr