Ah, now everybody has once heard ''chocolate is addictive'' and ''when your down, eat chocolate''. Why would this be?
Research has shown that the effects of chocolate include stimulating the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. Endorphins, for example, help to regulate a person’s mood. When a person eats chocolate, some believe that the increased production of endorphins can increase happiness, reduce stress, and reduce feelings of pain.
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One of the more unique neurotransmitters released by chocolate is phenylethylamine. This so called "chocolate amphetamine" causes changes in blood pressure and blood-sugar levels leading to feelings of excitement and alertness. It works like amphetamines to increase mood and decrease depression, but it does not result in the same tolerance or addiction. Phenylethylamine is also called the "love drug" because it causes your pulse rate to quicken, resulting in a similar feeling to when someone is in love.
Another interesting compound found in chocolate is the lipid anandamide. Anandamide is unique due to its resemblance to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a chemical found in marijuana. Both activate the same receptor which causes the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which leads to feelings of well being that people associate with a high. Anandamide, found naturally in the brain, breaks down very rapidly. Besides adding to the levels of anandamide, chocolate also contains two other chemicals which work to slow the breakdown of the anandamide, thus extending the feelings of well-being. Even though the anandamide in chocolate helps to create feelings of elation, the effect is not the same as the THC in marijuana. THC reacts with receptors more widely dispersed in the brain and is present in much larger amounts. It would take twenty-five pounds of chocolate to achieve a similar high to that of marijuana.
Theobromine is another chemical found in chocolate that can affect the nervous system. Besides having properties that can lead to mental and physical relaxation, it also acts as a stimulant similar to caffeine. It can increase alertness as well as cause headaches. There is much debate as to whether or not caffeine even exists in chocolate. Some scientists believe that it is the less potent theobromine which is solely responsible for the caffeine-like effects.
So who's gonna ''hit me up'' with a bar of chocolate? Let's get high and happy together =DIf you are also interested in the BAD effects of chocolate; read this: