Does smelling caffeine share equivalent effects on our central nervous system to those immediately apparent when ingesting? More precisely, does the aroma of coffee necessitate a beneficial neurological response?

  • I know from somewhere that smelling coffee makes you happy (serotonin excretion?) and less desperate. I don't know if it is relevant to caffeine or other aromatics. I cannot remember the source. I should check it. – MT San Aug 6 at 5:23
up vote 3 down vote accepted

From "Effects of Caffeine on Olfactory Learning in Crickets":

Caffeine is a plant-derived alkaloid that is generally known as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. In order to examine the effects of caffeine on higher CNS functions in insects, we used an appetitive olfactory learning paradigm for the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus.

Crickets can form significant long-term memories (LTMs) after repetitive training sessions, during which they associate a conditioned stimulus (CS: odor) with an unconditioned stimulus (US: reward). Administration of hemolymphal injections of caffeine established LTM after only single-trial conditioning over a wide range of caffeine dosages (1.6 µµg/kg to 39 mg/kg).

We investigated the physiological mechanisms underlying this enhancement of olfactory learning performance pharmacologically, focusing on three major physiological roles of caffeine: 1) inhibition of phosphodiesterase (PDE), 2) agonism of ryanodine receptors, and 3) antagonism of adenosine receptors. Application of drugs relevant to these actions resulted in significant effects on LTM formation.

These results suggest that externally applied caffeine enhances LTM formation in insect olfactory learning via multiple cellular mechanisms.

  • 1
    Wow! Impressive. And could you please summarize what these effects may cause in our daily life? – MT San Aug 11 at 8:30
  • 2
    Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. When it reaches your brain, the most noticeable effect is alertness. You’ll feel more awake and less tired, so it’s a common ingredient in medications to treat or manage drowsiness, headaches, and migraines. for example, too much caffeine can give you headaches. This is primarily linked to caffeine withdrawal. The blood vessels in your brain become used to caffeine’s effects so if you suddenly stop consuming caffeine, it can cause a headache. – K. Coffee Aug 12 at 11:19
  • @K. Coffee Very detailed answer, thank you! – aitía Aug 13 at 21:48

Your Answer


By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.