This page, as well as many others, says:

Like other palatable sweet foods, consumption of chocolate triggers the release of endorphins, the body's endogenous opiates. Enhanced endorphin-release reduces the chocolate-eater's sensitivity to pain. Endorphins probably contribute to the warm inner glow induced in susceptible chocoholics. This sensation explains why chocolate gifts are a great way to bring joy to a loved one.

I've experienced runner's high, but nothing like that ever happened to me after eating chocolate (or anything sweet at all).

Is the emphased statement about chocolate true?

  • What counts as "high"? I've experienced a "chocolate buzz" from eating too much chocolate (if that phrase can be said to have any meaning at all.) I suspect it is mainly the caffeine and sugar, but I could be wrong. I wouldn't describe the sensation as being "high" though.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 28, 2011 at 22:35
  • 1
    Note that although endorphins are endogenous opioids (not opiates, which are the alkaloids from poppy seeds), and although they bind to the same receptors, they do not have the same potency.
    – nico
    Oct 29, 2011 at 8:16

1 Answer 1


This CNN article quotes several researchers though doesn't actually provide much details of studies: http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/indepth.food/sweets/chocolate.cravings/index.html

"We are talking about something much, much, much, much milder than a high," said Piomelli, a researcher at the Neurosciences Institute of San Diego. He reported the work with colleagues in the journal Nature.

But a researcher who studies the brain chemistry of marijuana said chocolate contains such low levels of the ingredients Piomelli identified that he doubts they have any effect.

Piomelli found that chocolate contains anandamide, which is also produced naturally in the brain and which activates the same target that marijuana does.

He also found two chocolate ingredients that inhibit the natural breakdown of anandamide, which could lead to heightened levels of anandamide in the brain.

A slightly more scientific description of that research is here: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arch/10_12_96/food.htm

I couldn't find a link to the Nature article itself (nor any peer reviewed research from them) so far, but the above-mentioned Nature article is:


Nature. 1996 Aug 22;382(6593):677-8.
Brain cannabinoids in chocolate.
di Tomaso E, Beltramo M, Piomelli D.

In summary, Yes, chocolate can produce effects similar to marijuana, but the magnitude is significantly lower which is why OP (or the answerer for that matter) don't notice any effect.

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