Cacao, the main ingredient of chocolate, has been used for centuries by the Maya and Aztec cultures as a sacred and healing plant medicine. In recent years, ceremonial cacao has gained popularity in the holistic and spiritual communities, as a tool for connecting with oneself, generating greater inner clarity, and facilitating heart-centered healing.
However, some people have raised concerns about the psychoactive effects of cacao and whether it classifies as a drug. In this blog post, we will explore the myths and facts surrounding ceremonial cacao and its potential effects.
Myth #1: Ceremonial cacao is the same as regular chocolate.
Fact: Ceremonial cacao is not the same as regular chocolate. Ceremonial cacao is made from the purest form of cacao beans that are usually sourced directly from cacao farmers. In contrast, regular chocolates that we buy from grocery stores often contain added sugars, processed ingredients, and preservatives.
Myth #2: Ceremonial cacao is a drug and can cause hallucinations.
Fact: Ceremonial cacao is not a drug, nor does it cause hallucinations. The properties of ceremonial cacao are similar to regular cacao in terms of its chemical composition. Cacao contains compounds such as theobromine, caffeine, and phenylethylamine that can provide a sense of well-being, but it is not a mind-altering substance.
Myth #3: Ceremonial cacao can be addictive.
Fact: Ceremonial cacao is not addictive. Unlike drugs such as cocaine and nicotine, cacao does not create a physical dependency. Cacao is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients that can provide numerous health benefits.
Myth #4: Ceremonial cacao can help with emotional healing.
Fact: This myth is true! Ceremonial cacao can be a powerful tool for emotional healing. Scientific studies have shown that cacao can increase levels of endorphins and serotonin, the feel-good hormones that promote positive mood and reduce stress and anxiety. It is often used in tribal communities for spiritual and emotional healing practices.
Myth #5: Ceremonial cacao is not safe for everyone.
Fact: While it may not be safe for everyone, ceremonial cacao is generally safe for the majority of people. However, those with medical conditions such as cardiac diseases, hypertension, and diabetes should consult their physician before consuming ceremonial cacao. It is also recommended to consume it in moderation.
One reason that some people might mistake cacao as a drug may be because it has been used as a precursor to other drugs historically. Also, cacao is the primary precursor to the production of chocolate, which contains theobromine and caffeine. However, ceremonial cacao doesn't have the same molecules present in chocolate and, therefore, does not stimulate the mind and body in the same way.
Another reason this misconception may arise is because drinking ceremonial cacao can induce similar bodily sensations, such as warmth and relaxation, that one might experience when drinking wine or beer. However, the sensations associated with consuming ceremonial cacao can be explained by the release of endorphins during the cacao ceremony. Endorphins are natural hormones that the body produces when it is physically and emotionally content and are not linked to drugs.
The short answer to whether ceremonial cacao is a drug is a resounding no. Ceremonial cacao is a healing plant medicine that promotes well-being and heightened self-awareness rather than addiction or harm.
It contains no addictive components or harmful substances that can alter the body's chemistry negatively. Instead, cacao contains natural compounds that stimulate the release of endorphins and promote increased sensitivity and degree of openness.
The next time you participate in a cacao ceremony, it's important to understand that you're not engaging in drug use, but rather in a sacred and ancient practice of healing and connecting with yourself and others.