Are Chillies Psychoactive? Seeing ‘Are Chillies Psychoactive?’ pop up amongst the usual recipes and chillie product news I usually receive in my google alerts certainly caught my eye. Especially on that particular grey morning in London, it was my first full week back at work and I could certainly do with some psychoactive cheering up.
I did some googling and found there are great discussions on certain types of forums about whether chillies have any psychoactive properties, mainly from potheads desperately searching their new high. But amongst the ‘woah I got a head buzz’ comments there are people who say they’ve experience some good feelings from eating chillies. For example this from Johnhasahottub:
‘I was a little down yesterday morning. Then for lunch I had some vege parcels from “Little Saigon” with a good helping of sliced chilli. It was rather tasty but well out of my league on the chilli scale. I felt the hurt but was also washed over by a feeling of wellbeing and tranquility.’
Further digging revealed that a so called ‘Psychoactive’ brand of chillie peppers had been pulled from the shelves in the far-east after officials in Hong Kong found it contained traces of THC (the chemical also found in Cannabis). To the delight of teenagers everywhere, it went back on sale shortly after when further studies found no traces in the product.
But there is obviously something in Chillies which people find so appealing, as evidenced by the huge chillie community which is spread across the world. So what is it in Chillies which is creating these effects?
Well it turns out its not what’s in Chillies that causes these effects but rather the bodies reaction to the hotness of chillies. When you eat Chillies endorphins are released. These are the body’s natural pain killer and give you a brief high, the same effect you feel after exercising. The rush of endorphins mixed with the physical sensations of eating Chillies; flood the brain with senses and a feeling of wellbeing. The hotter the chillie the more endorphins released, which explains why people get addicted to hotter and hotter chillies.
There are other health benefits gained from eating chillies. They are anti-pyretic; eating Chillies causes you to sweat which in turn lowers body temperature. This is one of the reasons they’re so popular in hot climates. Capsicum thins mucus and clears the sinus has also been extracted for use in pain relief creams, helping people suffering from Arthritis and Shingles.
Probably the most exciting effect of eating chillies is their aphrodisiac qualities. As well as making you feel good, the release of Endorphins stimulates the nerve endings, quickens the pulse and heightens the body’s sensitivity.
All of which explains why eating Chillies is an extremely pleasurable experience!