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What do chocolate and marijuana have in common?

Gary Wenk
Psychology
Cocao powder contains a substance called anandamide.  Our brain produces the exact same chemical that neurons use to communicate with each other.  Anandamide, which is Sanskrit for "internal bliss," stimulates our brain's marijuana receptors and can mimic the action of marijuana.  Anandamide is called an endocannabinoid because it is made by our body and mimics the cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. Thus, an ingredient in chocolate and an ingredient in the marijuana plant are both capable of stimulating our brain's own marijuana neurotransmitter system.  This begs the question of whether a human could get high from eating chocolate.  Probably not; there is simply too little anandamide in cocoa powder.  For more on this topic please see my Psychology Today blog.

Both contain fatty acids called cannabinoids that induce a feeling of relaxation and intoxication when they strike certain receptors in the brain.

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