Does Cayenne Pepper Make You High?

capsaicin-endorphin-rushWe all know that eating chili pepper can give you a lot of health benefits. But you may not believe that you can get high off cayenne pepper. Now, thanks to some scientists, this question has been answered and it is a yes. Of course, cayenne has to be made from crazy-hot peppers to give you a kick.

Peppers are commonly used to flavor food. Some are crazy about them while some other dislike them because some varieties are so hot that a dash of it can make a dish too fiery for them. It is true that cayenne pepper can make you happy. Scientists from New York University believe that capsaicin can stimulate the “nociceptors” in the mouth and then send a signal to the brain to make it secrete a kind of pleasant chemical, which not only helps ease spicy stimulation, but also improve your emotions and make you feel good.

So, if you want to make yourself feel better, try adding a little bit of cayenne to salad or soup and you will get something unexpected. However, it is important to note that making you feel happy doesn’t necessarily mean that it can cause a hallucinogenic effect.

Hallucinogenic foods refer to those that can make a person or animal hallucinate after eating them. Because they contain some toxic ingredients, nerve or blood poisoning tends to occur when they have been consumed. Common hallucinogenic plants include wormwood, psilocybin mushrooms, datura, dimocarpus fumatus, kava, peyote, Salvia divinorum, and so on. Of course, extremely hot chili peppers are able to alter your state of consciousness too.

In terms of hallucinogens, the common ones are Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, Phencyclidine, Mescaline, Psilocybin, Cyclobenzaprine, etc. Other things that make you hallucinate at home still include caffeine, nutmeg, sea bream, moldy rye bread, and the like. But they cause hallucinations only when they are consumed in very high dose. At the same time, flu-like symptoms are often accompanied.

It is worth mentioning that the pungency of cayenne is determined by the unit called Scoville. As you know, bell peppers are not hot at all and thus they are with 0 Scoville while chili peppers are between 30,000-50,000 Scoville. When it comes to the world’s hottest peppers, this number can be as high as 2 to 2.2 million Scoville units. The typical examples include Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, 7 Pod Douglah (aka Chocolate 7 Pot), and so on.

Besides, peppers contain a variety of capsaicin. And the chili taste and spiciness are mainly based on the content and quantity of capsaicin. When capsaicin directly stimulates the oral mucosa and the trigeminal nerve, it can cause one kind of burning sensation and even pain. And when in contact with the skin it can cause a burning sensation too. It feels like someone is lighting a match and then puts it in your hands and mouth. In this case, your body fights the heat and relieves the pain by releasing a lot of endorphins, which can thus make you trip.

Thanks to the hallucinogenic effect of cayenne pepper, medicinally it is used as analgesics to relieve rheumatoid arthritis, headaches and headaches caused by mastectomy. By the way, eating too much capsaicin-rich foods can be dangerous.

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