Cannabis and Chocolate: A Match made in Heaven
Cannabis and hemp have similarly complex histories; both plants have been widely used for both industrial and medicinal purposes. One of the oldest mentions of cannabis use dates back to 2300 BCE in a classic Chinese book known as the Shu King. The book documents how the Chinese used hemp and cannabis fibre to make clothes and rope, while using the whole plant as a medicine to treat everything from rheumatism to menstrual cramps.
Cocoa beans grow naturally in the Americas, where they were first consumed over 5,000 years ago by native peoples like the Yucatán, Olmecs, and Aztecs. These cultures used cocoa beans as both a staple food and a medicine. In fact, rumour has it that Aztec emperor Montezuma used cocoa beans as a sexual enhancer, taking a few before heading into the bedroom.
Not all chocolate has bragging rights in regards to health, but dark chocolate gets a gold star. It’ll never replace kale or bananas when it comes to nutrition, but it does desserts proud. It contains fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, and potassium. It’s also loaded with antioxidants, which benefit the body in numerous ways.
When it comes to our brains we often use the metaphor of neurotransmitters as keys and receptors as locks. A key fits in a lock and releases a feeling or experience. In our brains we have receptor sites for cannabinoids, namely CBD and THC. However, these same receptor sites work with Anandamide, a neurotransmitter found in chocolate.
Anandamide was named after the sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss, because of the general feeling of wellbeing and pleasure it produces. It elevates mood, appetite, and lowers perception of pain.
Chocolate also contains cannabinoid breakdown inhibitors, which possibly allow feelings from a truffle or brownie to stay around longer, and chocolate has a vasoconstrictor that allows nutrients or chemicals to flow more easily into tissues, potentially explaining why the feelings of a medicated chocolate are greater.
Hence, combining cannabis with chocolate may enhance the mood-boosting, euphoric effects of both substances. And, if you use cannabis medicinally, you’ll find that combining cannabis and chocolate might also enhance the medical benefits of both.
Anandamide, much like the cannabinoids found in cannabis, plays an important role in managing pain, mood, appetite, and more. It has also been shown to improve neurogenesis and exhibits both anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties.
Fast forward a few thousand years to today, and we’ve now learned that cannabis and cocoa have commonalities even beyond what can be observed by the naked eye.
Whether you’re looking to heighten the effects of a certain cannabinoid, mask the flavour of your medicine, or spice up your love life, you may want to consider mixing cannabis and chocolate.
There are many ways to do this. One of the most traditional methods is via chocolate edibles. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where cannabis sales are legal, you may be able to get your hands on commercially available varieties like brownies, chocolate bars, truffles, and many others.