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Posted in Food Safety on July 6, 2018
It’s 2018, and humans have accomplished amazing feats, from launching a Tesla into orbit to cloning monkeys. For the good or bad, science is progressing. With each moment of success, I’m awed by the vast potential of Earth’s occupants. Then, I’m assigned a subject by my editor that forces me to type out the words “Snorting Chocolate.” Come on, people.
I am not in the best position to judge chocolate consumption, nor would I turn my nose up at freely offered candy; however, if that said candy was built to skip my taste-buds on the track to my stomach, I’d delightfully refuse. No matter how much of a hardcore chocoholic I am.
Now that my initial opinion is known about this candy-feasting blasphemy, let’s take a first-person point-of-view trip back to how this unusual fad started. And yes, people do actually snort chocolate and have for a while now.
Snorting Chocolate – An Odd History
It’s 2016, in Berlin, Germany, and you’re a bit of a hipster. There’s nothing better than old school ideals, and there’s an unspoken competition between you and your friends to live and breath vintage-life. Now, you are looking to turn the night up at the local club scene, but you’ve sworn off booze, and want to keep that organic-loving body free of drugs. The euphoria of chemical use is a hard habit to kick, and you’d like a little lubrication for your good time. So, with all those variables at play, what do you do?
Well, you take it back… Way back, to pre-Columbian times. In one of your many college courses, you studied the Mayan and the Aztec’s ritualistic use of cacao tree seeds to entrance participants. You can’t get more vintage than that, and seeds sound mighty organic. Though, the concept of organic and toxin-free often gets misconstrued. Take a look at medicinal practices of the 1800’s for organic poison enlightenment, but I digress. It was that hipster-innovative moment that cacao was administered in Scarface movie fashion. Al Pacino’s character would have seemed much less foreboding if his drug kingdom was built from chocolate. Doesn’t the concept sound ridiculous? That’s because it is.
So, that’s how the European club-scene chocolate snorting craze took shape. From there, it was only a matter of time before it hit the states. It was by Orlando, Florida based company, Legal Lean, that developed Coko Loko, after founder, Nick Anderson, watched YouTube video about the craze. According to CNN, Anderson did not seek medical consultation prior to the production of Coko Loko, but instead assumed the decreasing news coverage in Europe meant there were no major health issues related to snorting cacao. Maybe, a little more thought was warranted on the matter before development; but, that’s just my opinion.
How is Chocolate Considered a Drug?
Coko Loko is a mixture of raw cacao powder, and other ingredients found in energy drinks, such as: gingko biloba, taurine, and guarana. That’s a pretty potent mix, but the means don’t justify the ends. Snorting Cacao doesn’t even make sense for the ludicrous goal of a chemically induced high. That’s because energy-drink ingredients have the same effect no matter how they enter the blood stream. Snorting-chocolate-fanatics believe inhaling the substance will obtain a faster and stronger effect; but, that is a thought based off a confused knowledge of those nutrients. The ingredients in energy drinks impact the blood stream the same way no matter how they are ingested, whether by mouth or nose. This means putting those elements up your nose doesn’t offer a stronger affect than drinking them.
Pure cacao contains Tyrosine, a precursor to Dopamine. This is the likely cause for some partakers of snortable chocolate to report short-lived feelings of euphoria. Raw Cacao also provides antioxidants Epicatechin that increases blood flow to the brain and muscles, producing an energetic feeling. Neither Tyrosine or Epicatechin are “bad” substances, but the means of digestion matters.
The gastrointestinal tract is separate from the breathing tract for good reason. The lungs are not designed to efficiently break down foreign materials. By forcing the lungs to do the job of the stomach, a host of problems becomes inevitable. Snorting chocolate and other substances contaminates the mucous membranes, causes scar tissue to develop on the lungs, and damages the nasal cavity. But, hey, you can obtain all these problems in a jar of Coko Loko for the low cost of $24.99 for a possible 30-minute high. At least 30 minutes is what the company claims, but the hilarious reviews online from purchasers tell a different story. If you need a laugh, take a look at the 59% of one-star reviews. I guess the comedy brought on by Coko Loko is a positive, so I’ll give that credit where its due.
It’s now 2018, and the FDA has to warn us about snorting chocolate and discouraging companies from promoting it. According to their website:
“FDA warns companies for promoting Coco Loko, a snortable chocolate powder, and Legal Lean, a drink, as alternatives to street drugs.”
The FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. also had some words for this odd practice:
“As a physician and a parent, I’m deeply troubled by the unlawful marketing of these potentially dangerous products, especially since they are so easily accessible by minors. Encouraging the use of snortable chocolate as an alternative to illegal street drugs is not acceptable – there are very real consequences to snorting any powder, not to mention the societal dangers of promoting drug abuse… At a time where drug addiction is threatening the fabric of American society, we must take action when we see efforts that may further fuel illicit drug abuse. We’ll continue to vigorously target bad actors that sell unapproved products, including products that contain undeclared drug ingredients.”
More research needs to be done to establish the long-term effects of snorting chocolate, but for now we can rest on the obvious negative impacts. With the damage to the nasal cavity and the lungs, the pointless action of inhaling energy drink ingredients, questionable drug-like affects, and the unresearched long-term ramifications, snorting chocolate is proving to be a sham.
The way I figure it is Tony Montana and Willy Wonka just don’t mix well. So, keep your nose clean, and let chocolate be what it is… candy, not cocaine.
By: Heaven Bassett, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)