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Chocolate May Mimic Marijuana


October 1996

Researchers reported in the August 22 issue of the journal Nature that chocolate contains substances that might mimic the effects of marijuana. Daniele Piomelli, a researcher at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, said chocolate contains small quantities of anandamide, which is also produced naturally in the brain and stimulates the same neural receptors that THC (the principal active chemical in marijuana) does. They also found that two ingredients in chocolate inhibit the natural breakdown of anandamide, which might lead to increased levels of anandamide in the brain. The researchers stressed that chocolate contains such low levels of the ingredients that they have little or no effect. "We are talking about something much. . .milder than a high," said Piomelli (Emmanuelle di Tomaso, Massimiliano Beltramo and Daniele Piomelli, "Brain cannabinoids in chocolate," Nature, August 22, 1996, p. 677; Malcolm Ritter, "Chocolate May Mimic Drug," Washington Post (On-line), August 21, 1995; Malcolm Ritter, "Ingredients in chocolate may mimic pot," Buffalo News, August 22, 1996, p. A6; "Chocolate Might Mimic Marijuana," Newsday, August 27, 1996, p. B29).

For a copy of the article, contact: Nature, 345 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010-1707, Tel: (212) 726-9200, Fax: (212) 696-9006 or E-mail: