TIME Science

This Is How Caffeine Actually Affects Your Brain 

The science behind America's favorite drug

Over 83 percent of Americans drink coffee, making the U.S. the world’s largest consumer of the potent beans. We probably love it so much because it’s also our favorite drug—caffeine keeps us going (even in today’s strangely wintry weather). But only a fraction of addicts actually understand how caffeine impacts the brain. Here’s a video that explains the addiction.

The Reactions video explores the chemistry of caffeine, which breaks up into three different molecules: theobromine, paraxanthine, and theophylline. The combined impact of these three compounds induces the wakeful state we all need to start our mornings.

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