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Cacao pregnancy | Cacao sports | Ceremonial cacao | Ecstatic dance | Keith's original writings | Keith's wisdom | Lucid dreaming | Yoga

Cacao Uses: a Dosage Guide

This blog post is an extract from the original writings of Keith Wilson, the Chocolate Shaman. For more recent info on all things Ceremonial Cacao, visit our main blog For the Love of Cacao.

Until you know Cacao on a personal level, I emphatically recommend drinking no more than a 1.5oz/42.5g dose -otherwise known as a ceremonial dose- at any one time. Some people with low body weight may want to take less. First-time users who are on a raw diet and those who need to undergo a dietetic detox should drink less. Over time, the level of acceptable stimulation will guide your own personal needs. 

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When to Take Cacao

A ceremonial dose of 42g taken after about 6 pm may keep some people awake until late; unless they are already tired enough from emotional release to rest. Funnily enough, the occasional person can actually nap after this amount of Cacao. However, we call sleeping after a ceremonial dose resistance to the process! Over the years, I have participated in many evening ceremonies beginning at 6 pm or later, with no sleep issues for anyone, especially when they drink sufficient water afterward. 

Regarding timing, Cacao's strongest effects typically last between 4 and 5 hours. Many can feel the impact of Keith's Cacao begin immediately, which we understand as an energetic blending with the Cacao Spirit. Within 20-30 minutes, some kind of buzz is generally felt, while 45 minutes after ingestion is when the full effects occur; if the stomach isn't full, that is. Those with a completely empty stomach will notice more rapid assimilation.  

Some people prefer taking a typical day's Cacao dose as two separate portions, perhaps an ounce each, taken several hours apart. Or they take the second dose just as they begin to taper from the first ounce, which can be highly beneficial for an entire day-long of focus holding for activities such as hiking, creativity, or workplace productivity. If Cacao is taken with a meal, it has a slower assimilation speed, which means that the effects are felt a little slower but can be spread further over time. Taking Cacao in this way is perfect for an entire day of soulful work!

Cacao is a diuretic, causing slight dehydration. Therefore, I recommend that people begin drinking water halfway through a Cacao ceremony to avoid an unpleasant headache the next day. In addition, some people find that larger amounts of Cacao tend to have mild laxative effects 4-7 hours later. This is normal but, if unpleasant, can be a gentle message to use less Cacao the next time. 

Dosage for Inner Journeying

Generally speaking, 1oz (28g) of Cacao per person is enough for many inner activities and can efficiently catalyze deep emotional release. This amount is more than sufficient for a feeling of open-heartedness, though everyone is different in their reaction and sensitivity to Cacao. I know several experienced Cacao users who are quite sensitive to both energies and psychoactive substances, thus only use about ½oz (14g) per serving. Many people have experienced emotional release or immediate energetic union with the Cacao Spirit from munching one single bean or from their very first sip. You can trust that you are in authentic partnership with the Spirit of Cacao when you feel her instantly, and she smiles with you in this way.

About 20g of Cacao, or more, is enough to assist any group in traveling deeply inward with more ease. Concepts become more easily understood, and, at the same time, the rational mind tends to move out of the way. When 20g of Cacao is used among a tribe of like-minded people, a beautiful energy emerges between the group. Over the years, I have had so many glowing reports from facilitators of many different modalities, which indicates to me that Cacao is growing as a group connector and catalyst for soulful activities. When reading, spiritual books are more deeply understood with a certain level of our Cacao already in the system. We also hear that highly technical subjects are more easily grasped, and there is an easier recollection of what one has learned thereafter.

Dosage for Dreaming & Sleeping

Cacao has become a superb facilitator for lucid dreamers, and I receive many thanks for this one! I have learned that Cacao works better than alcohol or caffeine, which are sometimes recommended for this purpose. Taking a small amount of Keith's Cacao just before sleeping (0.3oz or 8.5g - 10g) will help you remember your dreams. I suggest drinking enough water to awaken to pee in the middle of the night and then taking the previously prepared Cacao as you return to bed for the later stages of sleep. This is when you are more likely to remember your dreams the following morning!

Several people have told me that they take a small amount (10g) of Cacao on sleepless nights, which allows them to quieten their 'monkey mind' that keeps them awake. After ingesting Cacao, the energy tends to move, and they finally fall asleep. One could also take Cacao with Maya Nut, which has a significant tryptophan content, to help them fall asleep. This experience is similar for many meditative or contemplative-focused people, who say that Cacao calms and deepens their experience.

Drinking a lot of Cacao in the evening will leave some people feeling sleeplessly awake late, so I recommend a maximum of 1 ounce (28g) to avoid this. Taking Cacao with food will slow assimilation and prolong the active period, which works well for early afternoon drinking but perhaps not at night. 

Very few people experience very deep sleeping following a ceremonial dose of Cacao; up to a day and a half of continuous sleeping, sometimes including non-stop vivid or lucid dreaming. A friend nicknamed this phenomenon 'The Sleeping Beauty Syndrome.' This is similar to how some indigenous people have used Cacao for conscious journeying through other dimensions of reality. Our advice: just have fun!

Dosage for Physical Activity

Before pairing Cacao with your favorite activity, we recommend trying it first to ensure the brand has the proper energy and qualities you are looking for. If using 'raw' Cacao powder, make sure to take about half of our traditional dosage recommendations because Cacao, in its raw form, has had the butter removed. 

Cacao paired with any intense aerobic activity such as volleyball, as an example, would best be timed for an active period of 5 hours. Simple activities such as driving are no problem. 

For something like Kundalini Yoga, try 1.2oz (34g). I have served Cacao to several yoga teachers over the years, and the feedback from the growing trend of 'chocolate yoga' has been wonderful! 

While Cacao is excellent nourishment for trekking and often appears in trail mix, vasodilation could be a life-threatening complication in heat-loss hypothermia conditions. I do not have sufficient information on how well the body could override this and restrict capillary flow.

Cacao is a beautiful facilitator with today's tantric/goddess temple pathways. The increased blood flow and almost double tissue oxygenation from Cacao assist with sensitivity and sensation. The focus/connecting qualities help you feel and stay with the movement of the energies and with your partner, and the heart centering pulls those energies upwards. With 'bottom up' tantric practices where sexual energies are to be elevated through all your issues into other realms, consider using Cacao to partner with your own higher-dimensional existence and invite that presence to transform and open the energetic pathways. In a 'top down' tantra, you may find easy harmony with both ancient and contemporary magic. The root will party right along. Then invite your 'terrestrial mother' up to unite with the 'celestial father' you've brought down into your heart. Overflow with the progeny of their divine mating. Know self as a luminous lantern in a pillar of divine light. Engage your partner from this elevated resonance, knowing that your energies can be guided to similarly entwine. I usually find some people wanting to be 'instant cacao shamans' when guiding this at a tantric temple. 

Cacao is often a complete replacement for alcohol, which works as a social lubricant by reducing inhibitions and suppressing fear. With the significant heart-opening qualities of Cacao, I receive regular inquiries about using Cacao at dinner parties or other special gatherings such as weddings or gallery openings. I have had delightful feedback and feel it can be a real blessing in weddings! I recommend 1oz-1.3oz (28-37g) for those who want to foster a heart-centered connection in this way. For an older crowd, I'd stick to a lower dosage!

Dosage during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

My sources for information about Cacao in combination with pregnancy and breastfeeding come from the local 'gringo’ midwives who work with the indigenous midwives who have used Cacao traditionally. Over the years, many women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or simply are moms have asked me about using Cacao, and each time, I have asked the Cacao Spirit for guidance and information. Along the way, several MDs, a Metabolic Researcher, and a Biochemist have added to my understanding. In addition, several 'Cacao Moms' and their children - some of whom are quite psychically or intuitively aware - have also contributed.

Most babies, whether in or out of the womb, develop really well with Mom taking Cacao, and we know of several awesome 'Cacao Children.' We recommend about 1oz/28g (⅔ of a ceremonial dose) in the first 2 trimesters, about ⅔oz (20g) maximum during the last trimester. 

A few fetuses and breastfed babies don't particularly like Cacao, which is not a problem. As a Mom, you will know from their reaction sooner or later, so our advice would be to start gradually and see how it goes. A good dosage recommendation would be ⅔oz (20g) while breastfeeding until it is clear how the growing baby reacts. Please remember that our dosage advice is specific to Keith's Cacao, which is stronger in active compound content than others. 

If using commercial 'raw powder,' we recommend half of these amounts. This is because most Cacao in the raw market, sourced mainly from South America and other areas of the world, tends to have much more caffeine than the Cacao varieties we use. A lot of the Cacao from Guatemala also is loaded with caffeine and therefore not considered suitable for babies and young children. 

*For a comprehensive guide on Cacao and Pregnancy, please read our blog: Cacao and Motherhood

A Note on Nausea

Experiencing nausea hours after drinking Cacao is usually a sign of an overdose. So, please don't disregard this feeling. Understand this nausea as intelligent feedback from your body, otherwise known as your teacher.

Nausea that arrives early on while drinking Cacao is usually a message specific to you and your personal journey. As a general rule, ingesting more than 2oz (57g) of our Cacao is unnecessary and undesirable for almost everyone. 

In my experience, 5-7% of people who drink 2oz (57g) of our Cacao in one go, and up to 5% of people drinking this much Cacao within an hour, will become nauseous enough to vomit. Conversely, I know a few folks who can tolerate over 200g of Cacao in one day and be perfectly fine afterward. However, most people have a limit of about 60g. Cacao is naturally self-limiting, as higher doses soon produce nausea. Any bitter in sufficient quantity is emetic.

A few years ago, some folks arrived at my door requesting that I supply free Cacao for testing to see if it could be used in the same way that purging applies to some psychedelics as the natural part of the cleansing process. The conclusion: the only thing you get is becoming sick! It is, in fact, the least optimal way to do a liver cleanse. It is also very difficult to process inner work while being nauseous! 

Recommended Dosages at a Glance

• 0.3-0.4 oz (8.5-11g) for dreaming or lucid dreaming, taken mid-sleep cycle.

• 0.4-0.75 oz (11-21g) for very sensitive or long-term Cacao drinkers.

• 3/4 oz (21g) twice a day for cardiovascular long-term health uses, such as high blood pressure or clearing arterial deposits. Switch to just 15g twice a day after 6 months.

• 1 oz (28g) for meditation or to assist creativity.

• 1.2 oz (34g) for mild aerobic activities like yoga, dancing, cardio, or general gym workouts. Many use this daily dose to serve workshop participants.

• 1.5 oz (42.5g) for my standard ceremonial dose.

• Up to 2 oz (57g) for an upper-limit ceremonial dose, especially if you are large-bodied. Note that about 5% of average drinkers will get nauseous (sick) if they consume this much at one time. Therefore, it's not recommended for your first Cacao experience. Having said that, we do know of some massive bodybuilders who take 4oz (113g) before an intense workout!

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