“Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two but can’t remember what they are.”–Matt Lauer
I have a hard time trusting people who don’t like chocolate. It’s the ultimate indulgence and always delivers the pick-me-up I’m looking for. So why is this treat so tempting? As with everything, there is scientific evidence behind our cravings.
Sweet Sweet Science In a 2007 study, psychologists from Oxford University used an FMRI, or functional magnetic resonance imaging device, to analyze the effect chocolate has on the brain. Their studies led them to look specifically at the three areas in the brain that are known to be involved in forms of addictive behavior, comparing the brains of those who loved chocolate with those who didn’t. Surprisingly, the subjects reacted not only when they had actual chocolate in their mouths, but also when simply shown a picture of the sweet. This means that cravings can set in even when just looking at chocolate; it’s that impactful.
Let’s Get High, on Chocolate Eating a singular piece of chocolate and not going back for more is nearly impossible; just one taste and you’re a goner. So why is it so addictive? Mixed within the fairy dust, chocolate contains stimulants such as anandamide—a chemical that makes you feel good similar to that of tetrahydrocannabinol in marijuana. So while we won’t be doped up, we will experience a high as the feel-good chemical takes longer to break down in the brain when we treat ourselves with chocolate.
Edible Ease Dr. Sunil Kochhar, a scientist from the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland, led a study to explain the stress-relieving capabilities of dark chocolate. The set up consisted of 30 healthy adults eating forty kilograms of dark chocolate each day. All participants showed reduced levels of hormones caused by stress. Kochhar says that a daily dose of dark chocolate can be part of a healthy balanced diet and may result in a better chemical composition when dealing with stress. Unfortunately this research was all done with 75% cocoa chocolate, so your favorite milk or white won’t give you the same benefits.
While the experts say that a moderate serving is all you need, I won’t tell if you go overboard. Comment below which treat is your weakness — after all, chocolate is the better alternative to marijuana.