What links THC & Chocolate?
When you first chowed down on a weed edible, it was probably a brownie, right? This is where most people are introduced to the relationship between cannabis and chocolate. Chocolate is a popular go-to for many when they’re feeling down or depressed. There’s a good reason for this though, as for centuries chocolate was believed to have medicinal properties.
Similarly to cannabis, the cacao plant has had many medicinal uses. Ancient Americans had up to 1000 uses for cacao in the medicinal sphere. With a range of uses from mood elevation to restorative healing, those before us made the best use of the environment around them.
Throughout history, we hear similar reports between cannabis and cacao. In the 17th Century, Mexico was thought to have abused chocolate. Nuns in the New World used dark chocolate for both recreational and medical purposes. So much so that a restriction was placed on the chocolate, leaving the nuns to suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
Why are they so similar?
Chocolate, cannabis and love all have something in common. They all have a relationship with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). More specifically, these 3 things all stimulate the release of anandamide – which is considered the brains bliss molecule.
Other than this, further similarities between bud and chocolate include things such as having 3 types: chocolate has dark, white and milk varieties while cannabis has sativa, indica and ruderalis varieties.
When you consume chocolate, it actually has a similar effect to consuming cannabis in a chemical sense. So when the two are used in conjunction, they provide an elevated sense of happiness! Cannabis is also known to heighten sensations so the taste and texture of chocolate are heightened too.
So how does it all work?
Cannabinoids are chemicals found in plants and mammals and are also fat-soluble. The most well known is THC, which has psychoactive properties. Within our ECS is a cannabinoid neurotransmitter called anandamide, which can also be found in chocolate. This cannabinoid occurs naturally in the brain and nervous system which plays an important role in helping us feel good. In the ancient Indian language Sanskrit, anandamide means bliss and is derived from the word Ananda.
Cannabinoid receptors are structures that engage with certain molecules in the body. This, in turn, allows signals to travel through the body to their various touchpoints. THC interacts with these receptors, where anandamide can also be found. This chemical occurs naturally in the brain to help us feel happy and content. This chemical also spikes during exercise which is why some can get addicted to working out.
Cacao also contains small amounts of anandamide, but includes higher levels of two other important chemicals. The compound N-oleoyl ethanolamide (OEA) helps us with restricting weight gain. The other compound, N-linoleoyl ethanolamide (18:3 NAE), acts as an anti-inflammatory. These compounds slow down the breakdown of anandamide, and may do the same for CBD and THC. This helps prolong the effects of these compounds and further boost their benefits.
Anandamide in chocolate might be disrupting THC signals
Cannabinoids such as THC are fat-soluble, which means the fats in chocolate may disrupt the signals sent by THC. Anandamide is metabolised rapidly by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which may lead to further signal disruption. This binds with the same receptors as THC but binds faster, it may dominate and hinder the binding of THC to receptors.
CBD does not seem to be influenced in the same way when it comes to binding disruption. Seeing as CBD is broken down in a different area to THC, the outcome is different. So CBD infused chocolates aren’t affected negatively or inhibited. However, the signal disruption in regards to THC is so slight, that the only worry would be incorrect readings of potency in THC infused chocolate.
Chocolate and cannabis are actually a really exciting combination! Playing off of each other these two substances work together to improve the effect and experience of their opposite. This would explain why it’s so hard to just have one single weed brownie!