Ever wondered why cacao and psilocybin have a rich synergy?
In recent years, the intersection of ancient traditions and modern exploration has brought about a renewed interest in the synergies between cacao and psilocybin. These two natural substances, each with its own rich history, are now being combined in various settings for spiritual, therapeutic, and recreational purposes. In this article, we will explore the potential health benefits of cacao and psilocybin, the science behind their synergy, and the history of their combined use.
The Foundation: Chocolate
Let's start with the foundation of this combination: chocolate. Beyond its delicious taste, chocolate, specifically derived from cacao beans, offers a range of potential health benefits. Cacao is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the body from free radicals. It contains minerals such as magnesium, iron, and zinc, and has been linked to improved cardiovascular health. The natural compounds found in cocoa, known as bioactive flavanols, can stimulate the creation of nitric oxide. This gas is beneficial because it makes our blood vessels widen or expand, which can improve blood pressure levels.
Another benefit of consuming cocoa is the potential to enhance a sense of well-being and cognitive function. Yoneda et al. (2021) researched two specific flavanols (epicatechin and catechin) and a substance called theobromine – a mild stimulant, a bit like caffeine, that has energising effects. In this study, the mice that ate a lot of theobromine performed better in tasks compared to the mice that didn't eat it. In relation, scientists are intrigued to find out whether these flavonols and theobromine can protect the brain and improve cognitive function, like focusing, learning, and memory.
Besides that, cacao also contains adaptogenic substances:
Anandamide: Known as the "bliss molecule", this is a neurotransmitter that may contribute to feelings of relaxation, happiness, and bliss by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.
Phenylethylamine (PEA): a compound that stimulates the release of norepinephrine and dopamine, which is immediately associated with improving mood, attention, and may aid in treating depression.
Psilocybin: Cacao's Counterpart
The synergy between cacao and psilocybin is rooted in the way both substances interact with the brain's neurotransmitter systems. Psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, primarily affects the serotonin 2A receptors, leading to altered perceptions and a shift in consciousness. Psychedelics, including psilocybin, have been used in studies to investigate their potential therapeutic effects on the treatment of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses and disorders. This is because CT scans have shown brain images whereby the functional plasticity and global connectivity of areas in the brain have improved after the ingestion of these substances. In another study, patients with depression experienced an improvement in symptom severity after a high dose of psychedelics. Aside from its therapeutic effects in treating depression and anxiety, psilocybin has also been shown to boost sociability and enhance mood. In a study by Cameron et al. (2020) microdosers of psilocybin reported significant improvements in sociability as well as improvements in mood.
How does this interaction relate to cacao?
Cacao contains compounds that inhibit the breakdown of serotonin, prolonging its activity in the brain. These compounds, called Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), play a crucial role in the synergy between cacao and psilocybin. When combined with psilocybin, which relies on serotonin receptors for its effects, the MAOIs in cacao can potentiate and prolong the psychedelic experience. Be aware of this when you are dosing your psychedelics.
When cacao and psilocybin are combined, the result is often described as a smoother, more heart-centered psychedelic experience. The increased presence of serotonin, combined with the subtle psychoactive effects of cacao, can contribute to a more gentle and emotionally resonant journey.
Cacao and Psilocybin: Historical Allies
While the contemporary use of cacao and psilocybin together is a recent phenomenon, historical evidence suggests that indigenous cultures may have combined these substances in ceremonial contexts. The ancient Aztecs, for example, revered both cacao and psychedelic mushrooms, considering them sacred "gifts from the gods". The synergistic effects of these plants might have been recognised and incorporated into spiritual practices for centuries.
Cacao ceremonies: what do we gain from them?
Cacao ceremonies have gained popularity in various spiritual and wellness communities, offering participants a unique and intentional way to connect with themselves and others.
When consumed mindfully in a ceremonial context, cacao is believed to open the heart chakra and enhance feelings of love, empathy, and connection. This makes it a powerful tool for introspection, meditation, and communal experiences. Participants in cacao ceremonies often report heightened awareness, a deepened sense of gratitude, and emotional release.
Not to mention that this can be a great combination for our taste buds. With cacao, the unpleasant taste of psilocybin mushroom, or other psychedelic components, can be masked with a touch of sweetness full of functionality.
Whether in ceremonial settings, therapeutic contexts, or personal journeys, the combination of cacao and psilocybin offers a holistic experience that engages the mind, body, and spirit. As interest in this combo grows, ongoing research and responsible exploration will continue to uncover the depths of this synergy.
If you're curious to try these synergies, check out our recently launched Happy Treats 🔥Fuego🔥 blend. Cocoa bonbons with adaptogens to help you boost your mood, libido, energy, and spice up your experiences. These bonbons are specially designed to add magic truffles on top – at your own choice. Curious? Get yours here.
Disclaimer: It's essential to approach this combination with caution, as MAOIs can interact with other substances and medications, potentially causing adverse effects. Individuals should be well-informed and consult with healthcare professionals before experimenting with cacao and psilocybin in combination.