Have you ever wondered why your favorite infused candy bar hits the spot every time? Or why a chocolate craving strikes you in the same way as a cannabis craving? We might have an answer. These historically renowned plants have a lot more in common than just providing medicinal and industrial benefits to society for thousands of years.
A study published in 1996 by a clinical journal, Nature, discovered that chocolate contains three compounds that bind directly to our brain’s cannabinoid receptors, or act indirectly with those receptors through increased anandamide levels. Anandamide is a fatty acid neuro transmitter that binds to cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Cannabis contains at least 113 unique chemical compounds referred to as cannabinoids, and our bodies naturally interact with those compounds through the endocannabinoid system. But the endocannabinoid system interacts with much more than just cannabis, for starters, this system interacts with the main ingredient in chocolate, cocoa powder.
The Bliss Molecule
Cocoa powder inherently increases the brain’s anandamide levels. Anandamide is often referred to as “natural THC” or “the bliss molecule” which makes sense considering its release in the brain may have similar effects to THC. It is still unknown whether the compounds in chocolate actually bind to the cannabinoid receptors directly, or if chocolate only increases anandamide levels in the brain, thus potentially causing a similar effect to cannabis, a state of bliss.
A Natural Release
Other research suggests that the compound theobromine, also found in chocolate, may assist in the production of anandamide within the brain, thus producing a similar “high” to consuming cannabis. Whatever it is, chocolate and cannabis are seemingly skilled in stimulating our brain’s endocannabinoid system, which might describe the satisfaction we feel when smoking a joint, eating our favorite chocolate edible, or indulging in a Hershey’s bar.
Feel the Love
Not only does our endocannabinoid system interact with cannabis and chocolate, it also interacts with oxytocin, our “love hormone.” Feeling close to a partner or loved one causes oxytocin to release in the brain, which further causes production of anandamide, and as we know, this interacts with our cannabinoid receptors—resulting in a delightful state of being.
All things considered, many facts suggest that cannabis, chocolate, and loving bonds make us feel great due to the chemical reaction in our brains. Whether you like to take dabs, smoke flower or eat edibles while bonding with your partner, or prefer to flood your brain with anandamide by combining cannabis, chocolate and connection for an unstoppable trifecta, we now have an idea why that might be.
I think we can all agree that using cannabis is a blissful experience, and it may provide insight as to why some people feel “high” when indulging in chocolate. Although, it might take a Willy Wonka sized chocolate mountain fit for to produce a similar “high” we feel from cannabis.