You may be sprinkling cacao in your breakfast smoothie, but in Berlin, people are snorting it, all over the world, people are hosting ceremonies, and you might just find it at your next rave.
"Cacao? Do you mean chocolate?"
We may have been smashing dark chocolate like crazy for its antioxidant-rich properties and undeniable more-ish-ness, but who knew there was method in the madness?
Let's be clear; there is a difference between that dark chocolate bar you munch on your lunch break and Grade A Ceremonial Cacao. Like any old-school high, its effect is highly dependent on the quality and purity of the product.
Ceremonial-Grade Cacao is the highest form of cacao in its natural state. It is cultivated and produced as a plant medicine, protecting and supporting the medicinal qualities of the cacao by processing it in low-temperature conditions from the purest small-batch sources.
So, let’s cut to the chase...can you get high on cacao?
Yes and no. While cacao isn’t as psychoactive as ayahuasca or acid, it does contain a concoction of ‘bliss chemicals’ that stimulate the heart-rate while increasing your good vibes. These include salsolinol which trigger the release of dopamine, as well as tyrosine which is a precursor for dopamine so that dopamine can be made in the body easily and fast.
Also, anandamide is present which binds to cannabinoid receptors and cacao stimulates the release of endorphins. What’s more, cacao’s cognitive enhancing properties can unlock those hidden stores of creativity you just knew lay hidden somewhere inside, while its main stimulant ingredient theobromine (similar to caffeine) stimulates your central nervous system so you will have stamina for disco-stomping.
Finally, it’s heart-opening ability can dig up old emotions to set them free, so be prepared for tears, laughter and everything in between. Most of the time, it will just leave you feeling kind of awesome and without a crash the next day.
This may sound like a new wellness trend but cacao goes way, way back. It was the Mayans who first prized it above all else, using it to connect with their gods and as their most prized trading commodity. It was so valuable it was nicknamed ‘Black Gold”.
A healthier alternative to caffeine
Cacao has some amazing properties and health benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, and this interesting compound called theobromine. Theobromine is a compound similar to caffeine, but with different effects. It is stimulating but in a calm and blissful way, with people reporting a pleasureful body high. Some people use cacao to sharpen their focus and mind, so many people (including our co-founder Dash) use it as a great alternative to coffee. We use it in our Social Elixir for all of these pleasureful properties -and for its lovely rich taste
So how can you tap in?
The Spiritual Side
Shamans and cacao alchemists use cacao in specific ceremonies that tend to involve a combination of guided meditation, dance and sound. A ceremonial dose of cacao measures up as 44 grams melted slowly in warm water and muddled with prayers, mantras, elixirs and a healthy dose of cayenne pepper to kick-start its absorption into the bloodstream. For first-timers, our tip is to start with the experts (London’s buzzing with ceremonies right now) so you get a taste of what you are working with before going rogue.
So now you’re hooked, but how can you get hooked you up at home? If you want the best of the best, head for Keith's Cacao, sourced straight from the virgin jungles of Guatemala and cultivated by one of the modern-day cacao masters, Keith Wilson, a long-haired Californian who’s one of the fire-starters of the current global expansion.
Above all, Cacao is a heart-opener that expands your awareness, so choose wisely. You can take it on a manic Monday, but do you really want to be more connected to your work spreadsheet? We think not. We like to save it the good times; adventures in nature, festivals. And there's no better way than in our Social Elixir.