Truffles, black ones in particular, contain high levels of a “pleasure molecule”, anandamide, a cannabinoid similar to the THC found in cannabis. This has been demonstrated by the researchers of mycology and genetics of the University of L’Aquila, together with their colleagues from the Italian region of Abruzzo, from the city of Teramo, and from the Campus Biomedico of Rome, thus confirming the fame of this tuber, for centuries linked to prodigious effects, in addition to its unique perfume and flavours.
Anandamide is naturally present in the animal brain, and it triggers the release of chemicals that induce the feeling of well-being and modulate mood. Its Sanskrit name, in fact, means “extreme pleasure or ecstasy”. Truffles must be eaten by animals in order to release their spores: their intense odour draws them, and anandamide satisfies them. In fact, anandamide is a psychoactive substance also present in breast milk, and it stimulate the newborn to want more and more of it. BBC has produced a short reportage about this discovery, which has been broadcast worldwide and at the Expo 2015, for a different visibility of Italian truffles.