A chocolate high? Can you actually get high off of dark chocolate? Will the DEA be kicking down your door looking for your stash?
Well, it does contain powerful mood altering anandamide, phenylethylamine, and tryptophan. These brain changing substances are pleasure producers. Eating it makes you feel better, doesn't it?
But just how large a dose of these happy chemicals does bittersweet deliver? Enough to induce chocolate madness or just reduce anxiety?
What is anandamide? A difficult name to pronounce for the happy chemical found in your brain and chocolate.
It's also known by the catchier label bliss chemical. An apt name because it brings the joy and reduces the pain.
How does it do it? By stimulating the brain much like marijuana. The THC (active ingredient in marijuana) causes a high by attaching to receptors spread throughout the brain.
Anandamide can attach to the same receptors but only in certain areas of the brain.
So its effect on the brain is much more limited than THC's. You get happy but not high.
You'd have to eat something like a 20 pound helping of dark chocolate or more to get high. Not possible. Even I can't eat that much!
So don't worry about being under the influence of dark chocolate. It's not a crime. Not yet anyway.
Not enough anandamide to make you high but what about phenylethylamine?
Phenylethylamine is another happy chemical found in your brain and dark chocolate. Your body makes it when you're in love or happy.
What does it do? It pumps up your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Makes you feel better and more alert.
It's effects are similar to amphetamines, highly addictive stimulants.
It's in your bittersweet. But don't worry. Most of this potent chemical is processed out of chocolate.
No worries here. What does tryptophan do?
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in chocolate. It's converted by your body into serotonin. Another brain changing chemical.
Serotonin alters your mood making you feel relaxed and happy. Too little of it may cause depression.
Dark chocolate can improve your mood by increasing your level of serotonin a little. But not enough to cause problems.
Well, there's no chocolate high to worry about. So enjoy your favorite mood food.
There isn't enough of these chemicals in bittersweet to cause you
problems. But there's enough to benefit your health by reducing your anxiety. Help yourself to a little sweet serenity.
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