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Summary sheet: Theobromine

Theobromine (3,7-dimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione or xantheose) is a bitter, white stimulant drug of the xanthine class that is closely related to caffeine. It is one of the main metabolites of caffeine and is the main alkaloid of theobroma cacao and its preparations: cocoa and chocolate. It is similar to caffeine in both its chemical structure and effects but weaker in its antagonism of adenosine receptors.

Theobromine dilates blood vessels and causes a slight increase in cerebral blood flow, but it is not known if this has any effect on cognition. Cocoa Extract, which contains large amounts of Theobromine has been found to increase cerebral oxygenation in young people, but there was no measured increase in cognition[1]

History and culture

Theobromine was first discovered in 1841[4] in cacao beans by Russian chemist Aleksandr Voskresensky.[5] Synthesis of theobromine from xanthine was first reported in 1882 by Hermann Emil Fischer.[6][7][8]


It is classified as a xanthine alkaloid (more specifically, a methylxanthine),[3] others of which include theophylline and caffeine.[2] Caffeine differs from these compounds in that it has an extra methyl group (see under Pharmacology section).

Theobromine is a slightly water-soluble (330 mg/L), crystalline, bitter powder. Theobromine is white or colourless, but commercial samples can be yellowish.[2] Theobromine is an isomer of theophylline, as well as paraxanthine. Theobromine is categorized as a dimethyl xanthine.[2]==Pharmacology==

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Even without dietary intake, theobromine may occur in the body as it is a product of the human metabolism of caffeine, which is metabolised in the liver into 12% theobromine, 4% theophylline, and 84% paraxanthine.[20]

In the liver, theobromine is metabolized into xanthine and subsequently into methyluric acid.[21] Important enzymes include CYP1A2 and CYP2E1.[22]

"The main mechanism of action for methylxanthines has long been established as an inhibition of adenosine receptors".[2] Its effect as a phosphodiesterase inhibitor[23] is thought to be small.[2]

Subjective effects

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Disclaimer: The effects listed below cite the Subjective Effect Index (SEI), an open research literature based on anecdotal user reports and the personal analyses of PsychonautWiki contributors. As a result, they should be viewed with a healthy degree of skepticism.

It is also worth noting that these effects will not necessarily occur in a predictable or reliable manner, although higher doses are more liable to induce the full spectrum of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become increasingly likely with higher doses and may include addiction, severe injury, or death ☠.

Physical effects

Cognitive effects

Experience reports

There are currently no anecdotal reports which describe the effects of this compound within our experience index.

Toxicity and harm potential


This toxicity and harm potential section is a stub.

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Note: Always conduct independent research and use harm reduction practices if using this substance.

It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this substance.

Lethal dosage

Tolerance and addiction potential

Dangerous interactions


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Warning: Many psychoactive substances that are reasonably safe to use on their own can suddenly become dangerous and even life-threatening when combined with certain other substances. The following list provides some known dangerous interactions (although it is not guaranteed to include all of them).

Always conduct independent research (e.g. Google, DuckDuckGo, PubMed) to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe to consume. Some of the listed interactions have been sourced from TripSit.

Legal status


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See also

External links


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