Humans have been infatuated with chocolate for more than two thousand years, and not just because of its flavor. Aside from tasting good, it also has a wide range of therapeutic properties for everything from sexual health to cardiovascular health. The ancient Aztecs used it as an aphrodisiac, and when it made its way to medieval Europe, it became a popular remedy for disorders of the kidneys, liver, and the digestive tract. Today, it’s touted for its rich content of antioxidants, its ability to boost cognitive function, and its potential to support fetal growth and development, among many other benefits.
It has also become an increasingly popular delivery method for cannabis — and some enterprising chocolatiers are finding ways to customize their creations to meet their customers’ highly-specific needs (and tastes).
There’s more to this growing diversification than just marketing, though. Chocolate makes an ideal delivery mechanism for cannabis for several reasons. First, it’s well-suited to masking the taste of the cannabis oils (whether THC-rich or CBD-only) that are used to infuse edibles. The strong, sweet flavors of chocolate can overpower the “earthiness” of cannabis oils and make it easier on the tastebuds. In fact, some doctors have argued that chocolate may be too effective at making cannabis taste good, raising the risk of overconsumption.
But chocolate’s ability to cover up the unpleasant taste of cannabis isn’t the only reason the two make a natural pairing. Cannabis molecules are fat-soluble, meaning they dissolve better in fat than water (which is one of the reasons CBD beverages are often ineffective at delivering their key ingredients). Since chocolate is high in fat, it breaks down these molecules so they can be more easily absorbed by the body.
As a result, eating a cannabis chocolate means you’re more likely to get the results you want from your infused snack. But what exactly are those results?
Some cannabis chocolate makers differentiate their offerings along familiar lines: THC-rich chocolates to elevate mood and energy vs. CBD-rich chocolates for relaxation and healing. A prime example is the brand Somatik, best known for their popular bite-sized “Sparks.”
Somatik’s CBD Goji Berry product, which contains 2 mg of CBD and 1 mg of THC, is recommended for “stress, pain, and relaxation.” Forbes named it one of “The 11 Best CBD Products to Try Right Now,” though it warned that “[they’re] beyond tasty so it’s very easy to forget that they actually contain cannabis.” Somatik also offers THC-rich Coffee Bean Sparks that come with 3 mg of THC and a dash of caffeine, which the company claims will induce a “consistent uplifting feeling.” Both cost $20, and are available in dispensaries and online for delivery to states where cannabis is legal.
Other cannabis-infused chocolate makers, like 1906, have taken things a step further and offer highly customized products for specific purposes. Currently, they have five varieties with names like Love (for sexual health), Go (for increased energy and focus), Chill (for relieving stress), Midnight (for promoting sleep), and Bliss (for “a bubbly sense of well-being and extroverted happiness”). Packs of three bars cost around $14, and can be purchased in dispensaries or online in states with legal cannabis.
In this case, the difference between products isn’t due to their cannabinoid content, but rather the extra ingredients with which they’re formulated. The Love chocolates, for example, are made with herbs like damiana (which is suggested to boost female orgasms) and ashwagandha (used in Ayurvedic medicine for increasing libido). The Go variety, on the other hand, features ingredients like theobromine,a vasodilator that increases blood flow to the brain, and alpinia galanga, which is suggested to enhance alertness and focus.
Regardless of their special formulations, cannabis chocolates should be consumed carefully and in moderation — they might look and taste like candy, but they’re quite different from the Hershey bars you remember from childhood. Still, if you’re looking for a tasty and potent way to sleep longer, work harder, or have better sex, they might be worth a try.