Chocolate And Cannabis
4 min

Why Are Chocolate And Cannabis So Great Together?

4 min
Lifestyle News

In this article, we explore the complex similarities between cannabis and cocoa; the likeness might surprise you! Find out why using cannabis and chocolate together can potentially boost the effects of both substances.

Cannabis and chocolate have both played important roles in society for thousands of years. Now, new research suggests the two have much more in common than their lineage as legendary crops. In this article, we take an in-depth look at cannabis and chocolate; what makes the two go so well together?

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Cannabis And Cocoa: Two Of Society’S Oldest Crops

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.

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.

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.


Chocolate And Cannabis: The Perfect Chemical Pair

Cannabis contains at least 113 unique chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Some of the most famous are THC (the main psychoactive ingredient in the plant) and CBD (a non-psychoactive compound renowned for its medicinal properties).

When we consume cannabinoids, they interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system occurs naturally in our body and mainly consists of two types of receptors which are triggered by cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

Scientists first discovered cannabinoid receptors in the brain of a rat in 1988. Soon after, researchers found the same receptors in the human brain, which begged an important question: 'Why do mammalian brains contain receptors that are perfectly suited to receive the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants?'

The answer to this question came in 1992 when a team of researchers lead by Dr Raphael Mechoulam discovered anandamide, an “endocannabinoid” naturally produced by the human brain. In 1995, Mechoulam and his researchers isolated 2-AG, another endogenous cannabinoid.

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Now, you’re probably wondering, what does all this talk of cannabinoids have to do with chocolate? Well, a 1996 study published in the journal Nature suggests chocolate may contain some of the cannabinoids naturally produced by our bodies.

The researchers behind this study had a theory: Anandamide is a lipid (an organic, fatty acid); chocolate is naturally rich in fats and might contain lipids chemically and pharmacologically similar to anandamide. By exploring this hypothesis, the researchers hoped to better understand the science behind chocolate cravings. So, they tested three different samples of cocoa powder by three different manufacturers for their chemical makeup. They were able to isolate three main compounds from the cocoa powder.

These compounds were anandamide, N-oleoylethanolamine, and N-linoleoyl ethanolamine. The researchers further examined both N-oleoylethanolamine and N-linoleoyl ethanolamine, finding that they might produce effects similar to some cannabinoids by either mimicking anandamide or increasing anandamide levels in the brain.

In other research, scientists have also found that some compounds found in chocolate (such as theobromine) might cause the brain to produce more anandamide. Here’s how these findings might affect your experience when combining both cannabis and chocolate.


Chocolate Can Enhance The Effects Of Certain Cannabinoids

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter and is often referred to as the “bliss molecule” because it produces similar effects to THC, including euphoria. And it’s not hard to see why; after all, anandamide and THC have very similar chemical structures and interact with exactly the same receptors in the ECS (namely CB1 and CB2).

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.


Chocolate Masks The Harsh Flavour Of Cannabis

Any patients who medicate by ingesting potent concentrates like tinctures, cannabis oils like Phoenix Tears, or raw juiced cannabis will likely tell you the same thing: 'Weed isn’t exactly tasty'. 

In fact, most patients who ingest cannabis or cannabis-derived concentrates look for healthy ways to mask the strong flavour of the plant without interfering with it’s effects. That’s where chocolate comes in. Not only does it help mask the flavour of cannabis medicine, but as we saw earlier, it might even boost the plant’s overall therapeutic potential.

Chocolate And Cannabis In The Bedroom

Chocolate is renowned as an aphrodisiac. For a long time, scientists believed this was due to two chemicals found in chocolate, tryptophan (a building block for serotonin) and phenylethylamine, a chemical stimulant related to amphetamine. However, recent studies suggest that chocolate contains only small concentrations of both of these substances, meaning they’re unlikely to produce any noticeable aphrodisiac properties.

So, why do so many people associate chocolate with heightened feelings of love and desire? Well, we don’t know just yet. What we do know, however, is that cannabis could have similar sexually-enhancing properties. Many cannabis users report that cannabis can indeed improve the pleasure of sexual activity. Others report feeling more cuddly and intimate toward their partners when under the influence of cannabis.

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Unlike with chocolate, science has given us a pretty good explanation for why this is. Cannabis temporarily increases dopamine levels in the brain by blocking a neurotransmitter known as GABA, which usually acts to keep dopamine levels at bay.

This temporary blocking of GABA function is at the heart of all recreational drug use; from tobacco and caffeine all the way to cocaine, drugs temporarily increase dopamine levels in the brain and heighten our sense of pleasure and reward.

“The craving you have when you smell the coffee brewing in the morning—thank dopamine. That elation you feel throughout your body when you fall hopelessly and deeply in love? Again, dopamine,” writes Amy Banks, MD, research scientist and co-author of Four Ways to Click: Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships.

While it’s no sound science, combining chocolate with small doses of cannabis might amplify the release of dopamine in your brain and indirectly improve your experience in the bedroom or your overall connection with your partner.


Combining Cannabis And Chocolate

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.

If not, don’t fret; it’s easy to make chocolate cannabis edibles at home. You can even decarboxylate the cannabis directly in molten chocolate, making preparation super-easy. Here’s a bunch of our favourite cannabis choc recipes: Chocolate Cannabis FudgeCannabis Chocolate StrawberriesCannabis TrufflesCannabis-Infused Hot Chocolate and Cannabis-Infused Nutella.

Steven Voser

Written by: Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an Emmy Award Nominated freelance journalist with a lot of experience under his belt. Thanks to a passion for all things cannabis, he now dedicates a lot of his times exploring the world of weed.

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