Like any great love affair chocolate is intense but sweet, exciting yet comforting. Sometimes, it’s bittersweet; sometimes, intoxicating. As it turns out, those qualities that inspire our cocoa desire also make it a perfect match for cannabis, which lends additional aphrodisiacal quality—a taste of the (until recently) forbidden.
“Cocoa is rich in anandamide, a pleasurable chemical naturally produced in the brain,” says Lulu Bonner, CEO and founder of Lulu’s Chocolate.
“When you eat chocolate, it mimics cannabinoids by activating receptors or increasing anandamide [aka the ‘bliss molecule’] levels. When you combine that with CBD, it enhances the eﬀect and nourishes the body’s own endocannabinoid system.” Cacao is a natural vasodilator, which further promotes the eﬀectiveness of CBD.
“Chocolate is an incredible medium for absorbing cannabinoids,” says Christine Smith, CEO and founder of Grön Chocolate. Its naturally occurring fats improve the bioavailability of cannabinoids. And since chocolate melts in your mouth, the CBD enters the bloodstream more quickly. Plus, chocolate is a righteous food on its own, rich in flavanols, magnesium, and other healthful compounds, and studies show chocolate (even without CBD) can increase your sense of well-being.
And you can eat CBD chocolate treats without getting high. Whew.
“We use THC-free CBD and add extra terpenes to activate and enhance the healing powers of CBD without any psychoactive eﬀects,” Bonner says. If you’re not sensitive to THC, or un-concerned about drug testing, chocolates with full-spectrum oils that have a small amount of THC can also heighten the eﬀects of CBD, says Carrie Solomon, CEO and co-founder of Leif Goods and Greater Goods Chocolate.
You’ll ﬁnd a vast array of infused chocolates and other sweets on the market, so be discriminating. “Consumers need to be their own best advocates, as regulations are just not in place yet for this category,” Smith says. Buy yours from a company that can supply third-party lab reports (i.e. not owned by the manufacturer) that verify not only potency but also purity. Ask for test results, including original test results from the farmers, ensuring there are no pesticides, herbicides, or other contaminants, Solomon says. Know where the company sources its CBD. The hemp should be domestically grown, preferably in states like Oregon or Colorado, or organically produced in Europe; avoid products that source their CBD from China.
Bonus points for chocolates that are made with organic ingredients, lower in sugar and free from gluten, soy, artificial colors or preservatives, and carry the Fair Trade label.
3 CBD Chocolates to Try
Greater Goods Chocolate
Artisanal chocolate bars made with organic, Fair Trade cacao beans and cocoa butter, and lightly sweetened with organic cane sugar? Yum. Plus, 100mg of hemp CBD? Yes, please. We like the fudgy, vegan Orange Ginger bar infused with orange essential oil and topped with diced baby ginger root and crystallized sugar. Then again, there’s the Instagramable vegan Mint Hibiscus (shown at the top) with mint oil that’s dusted with powdered hibiscus flower. Or the Mocha Crunch, which combines organic milk chocolate with coffee beans and cacao nibs for a caffeinated crunch. Can we eat all three? $20, 12 servings/bar. hellogreater.com
Grön Chocolate Bars
We think we discovered manna: Grön chocolate bars made with organic, Fair Trade cacao beans and cocoa butter, and sweetened with full-cream milk. Each decadent and silky smooth sea salt-topped bar is infused with 100mg CBD, thanks to THC-free CBD isolate from organic hemp grown in Southern Oregon. We favor the Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt, a buttery chocolate bar with caramel undertones that’s topped with locally sourced, hard-harvested Jacobsen sea salt. Cannabis chefs: Sub in the vegan Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt bar in your next concoction that calls for high-quality dark chocolate. $20, 10 servings/bar. shopgron.com
Lulu’s Artisan Chocolate
Known chocoholic Lulu Sharpe had a near religious experience with a raw cacao tree in Hawaii. It changed her life—and ours. Without that tree, we wouldn’t be indulging on her Artisan Chocolate infused with organic hemp oil complex—a blend of 80mg CBD and steam-distilled terpenes. They’re vegan masterpieces that relieved our stress and lessened our aches and pains one square at a time. Each 78% ultra-dark chocolate bar contains raw, organic Ecuadorian cacao for a punch of antioxidants. Can’t ration? She also sells single-bite CBD chocolate bars. Skip the pillow mint; these are the perfect bedtime treat. $14, 4 servings/bar. luluschocolate.com