Truffles (the fungus, not the chocolate) are one of the most sought after foodstuffs on the planet. They cannot be “grown” in the traditional sense. Rather, they have to be found. They grow among the roots of certain trees in Europe, New Zealand, Australia and a handful of other places. They grow underground and require the use of trained pigs and/or dogs to locate, whose highly developed sense of smell makes them ideal truffle hunters.
Earthy, aromatic and savory to an extent of decadence that words fail to transcribe, truffles also contain the “bliss molecule,” called anadamide. Frostburg State University’s online general chemistry guide describes anadamide: “a recently discovered messenger molecule that plays a role in pain, depression, appetite, memory, and fertility. Its name comes from ananda, the Sanskrit word for “bliss”. Anandamide’s discovery may lead to the development of an entirely new family of therapeutic drugs. Anandamide chemistry provides a rare glimpse of processes that affect human behavior at the molecular level.”
So, what does any of this have to do with cannabis? THC is also a bliss molecule of sorts. Additionally, truffles themselves, when studied, were found to have an endocannabinoid system of their own. Since truffles lack the necessary receptors to make use of anadamide themselves, it is postulated that they evolved to use anadamide for its scent to help animals find and eat them, thereby propogating their species when the spores are excreted via defecation.
Could eating truffles have a similar effect on people as cannabis? Perhaps. My time as a chef showed me just how happy people become after ingesting truffles. I always sort of passed it off as a psychosomatic reaction due to the percieved decadence of eating the truffle. Now it looks like people may actually get a little “high” from truffles.
It’s an interesting thought. One Italian scientist who has studied truffles and cannabis believes that the similarities between THC and anadamide are no accident. He believes the scent helps attract animals to prolong their very existence.
It crosses my mind that both THC and anadamide are naturally attractive to animal life. Could this one day be used as evidence to support my belief that humans need cannabis to be complete? I don’t mean that in some esoterical, psychological, Jerry Maguire “you complete me” kind of way. I mean scientifically, regarding brain chemistry.
Why do we (and many other animals) come pre-wired with cannabinoid receptors in our brains? Why does cannabis seem to cure so many ills? To me it seems that cannabis is the missing puzzle piece that completes the neural circuits, helping everything fire properly.