Thanks to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, we've long thought of peanut butter and chocolate as two great things that taste great together. That's still true, but a new study indicates that dark chocolate and cannabis are two great things that feel great together—thanks to overlapping chemical profiles.
Make no mistake, it isn't like there's some way to get stoned with chocolate, exactly—but there are plenty of other benefits.
Obviously makers of edibles for medicinal and recreational use in states where that kind of thing is legal were onto this some time ago, as THC-infused candy is definitely a thing. But research conducted by University College London indicates the pairing works on a deeper level than anyone knew before.
But dark chocolate contains psychoactive ingredients that produce feel-good vibes akin to cannabis use, as well as phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator that helps regulate mood. In the study of 13,626 people, those who ate just half an ounce of dark chocolate were 70 percent less likely to report symptoms of depression. But the dark chocolate-weed link doesn’t end there.
The research also suggested that eating dark chocolate relieves depression. And while any chocolate can do that for you—hey, you’re eating chocolate, after all—the mood-enhancing properties of dark chocolate are far more prominent than those of milk chocolate. But the cannabinoid-like properties of dark chocolate aren’t the only thing to consider—taste matters, too. Eat a bad bar of chocolate and your mood won’t lift like it otherwise might.
The taste part we get. It isn't just about the sweetness, though—researchers found there are complex combinations of flavonoids in dark chocolate that can help combat depression.
Study author Dr. Sarah Jackson writes that the study "provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms."
However, she continues, "further research is required to clarify the direction of causation – it could be the case that depression causes people to lose their interest in eating chocolate, or there could be other factors that make people both less likely to eat dark chocolate and to be depressed."
Still, the evidence is solid: researchers say chocolate "contains a number of psychoactive ingredients which produce a feeling of euphoria similar to that of cannabinoid, found in cannabis. It also contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator which is believed to be important for regulating people’s moods."
If you're out of the green or don't have access to edibles, however, don't try to overdo the chocolate to get high—it won't work out well, especially for your diet.