THC-Like Bliss Molecule Found In Expensive Gourmet Black Truffles
Thanks to their rarity and unique earthy cocoa-like flavours, black truffles are seen as being at the height of gourmet fine dining. And when you consider that they cost roughly €250 per 100 grams, black truffles are certainly not going to be something you can expect to be included in a meal down your local McDonalds!
Well, scientists are now suggesting that it is not just the refined flavour and perceived scarcity that cause black truffles to be seen as such a luxurious item, they could also be getting those that eat them high.
Researchers from the University of Rome recently found that black truffles contain anandamide, a ‘bliss molecule’ that causes the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain. Not only this, anandamide is also known to alleviate both pain and symptoms of depression, much in the way THC and the other compounds found within cannabis do.
What makes this more interesting is that black truffles do not actually use the anandamide themselves – they do not have the receptors for it to bind to. It is hypothesised that they create it purely to encourage other animals to eat them, helping them reproduce through the distribution of their spores in fecal matter.
Black truffles are traditionally found throughout the wilds of Europe, especially in countries like Spain and France. They can take a good 10 years to properly come to fruition, and can be quite hard to find, with truffle hunters often utilizing the keen noses of pigs and dogs to hunt them out.
The fact that they contain a psychoactive compound is quite a remarkable discovery, and could explain why the truffles are so popular amongst the fine diners that can actually afford them.