Chocolate= Bliss?

Bliss. That fleeting, beautiful sensation. We all need it in our lives, and we all have different ways of achieving it. For some it’s music. For others it’s a long walk and a Sunday roast. For many, it’s the sensory indulgence of a bar of chocolate. And funnily enough, those who reach for the chocolate have some hard science backing them up. 

The neuro-enthusiasts amongst you will know that it’s almost thirty years since Lumír Hanuš  and William Devane, working under Raphael Mechoulam (discoverer of THC), isolated the first known endocannabinoid in the human brain. They named it ‘Anandamide’ after ‘Ananda’, the Sanskrit word for bliss.

Unlike THC, Anandamine naturally occurs in the human body (in fact, Mechoulam’s hypothesis that the body must produce an equivalent of THC set Hanuš on his succesful quest for bliss). While research is still underway to fully understand its role in sleeping, eating and pain relief, it plays an important role in ovulation and gestation, and Dr David Raichlen (University of Arizona) has proven the part it plays in reward and pain relief after exercise - the so-called ‘Runner’s High’.

It won’t surprise you to know that, just like the feeling it creates, Anandamine (abbreviated to AEA) doesn’t last long in the body. But luckily it’s found elsewhere – most notably in chocolate. Those multisensory moments of pleasure when you indulge in a treat are a sign of things happening at the molecular level.

That blissful effect has been well documented. In 2009, a team of Nestlé researchers found that 20 grams of chocolate (74% cocoa) twice a day reduce stress hormones. So sadly for those of you who like your chocolate cheap and sugary, you won’t find AEA there. The darker and purer the chocolate, the more bliss you will find within. In addition, dark chocolate contains two substances that slow the rate your body metabolises your chemical source of bliss – meaning that warm glow lasts even longer. It’s all beginning to make sense now…

Where it gets interesting, and the inspiration for our luxury CBD chocolate range (handmade in London by artisan chocolatiers), is how it all interacts with CBD.

We all know that full spectrum CBD contains a rich mixture of cannabinoids, terpenes and phenolics, and their interactions create the entourage effect – the cumulative benefit not found in isolate CBD. It truly is more than the sum of its parts.

Well, there’s an additional entourage effect going on with CBD, chocolate and Anandamine. Leweke et al in Translational Psychiatry have found that CBD slows the rate at which that bliss molecule (whether created by you or found in the chocolate you’re eating) is broken down by your body. So our full spectrum CBD–infused chocolate bar, on a neurological level, is introducing new AEA into your body where it bonds happily with your CB1 and CB2 receptors, alongside existing AEA. And the presence of both CBD and the Cocoa flavonoids stop the body from metabolising the AEA so quickly.

 And what that means on a sensory, emotional level is that our CBD chocolate will allow you to enjoy multisensory moments of serenity and bliss that last longer, and are felt more deeply, than the delight you already get from good quality chocolate. A chance to step away from the noise and stress of everyday life and have a luxurious moment of ‘me time’ that truly relaxes and restores.

Not bad for a bar of chocolate.