Chocolate is a remarkably effective emotional panacea that has proven to offer a host of physical benefits, too. It can reduce stress, provide relief from a cough, prevent diabetes and reduce atrial fibrillation, a fatal heart condition.
Now, apparently, it can provide a high similar to ecstasy when it’s snorted. Yes, snorted.
Coco Loko, a “cacao snuff,” claims that one snort will deliver a euphoric high that will last between 30 and 60 minutes, and will also provide energy, focus and motivation.
Made from cacao powder, gingko biloba, taurine and guarana (these last three ingredients are commonly found in energy drinks), the company website states it will boost serotonin levels, provide an endorphin rush and “give you a steady rush of euphoric energy and motivation that is great for party goers to dance the night away without a crash.”
Nick Anderson, founder of the company Legal Lean that makes Coco Loko, told The Washington Post that he was inspired by the chocolate-snorting trend that has grown in popularity in Europe over the last year.
“At first, I was like, ‘Is this a hoax?,’” he said. “And then I tried it and it was like, okay, this is the future right here.”
Anderson used an Orlando-based supplement company to create Coco Loko, and said it took 10 tries over two months to settle on the winning powder.
“Some versions, they just burned too much,” he said. “Other times they looked grey and dull, or didn’t have enough stimulants.”
But the question remains: what repercussions will this product have when you snort it?
“The thing to keep in mind is that there’s no research done on this at all,” Dr. Alex Osborn, an ear, nose and throat physician and medical director of The Voice Clinic, said to Global News. “We have no idea what it will do or how dangerous it is.”
Osborn says that theoretically, the danger in inhaling the powder is that it could get into the lungs, cause irritation and lead to complications like pneumonia. It could also irritate the nasal lining and result in sinusitis, and impede the normal outflow of the sinuses.
“They’re also putting other stimulants in there and the risks of those are the same as what you’d get in a standard energy drink — heart palpitations, anxiety and insomnia,” he says.
While those risks are directly linked to caffeine and Coco Loko doesn’t claim to have caffeine (the website does not provide a list of ingredients), Osborn points out that a 100-g cacao bean contains 230-mg of caffeine, which means “there’s a good potential that you’re ingesting a lot of caffeine in one sniff.”
On a recent appearance on Good Morning America, Anderson deflected medical concerns and said he didn’t consult with medical professionals because there has been “no negative publicity.”
“I basically just saw what was going on with Europe. There were no health issues. It’s been out two, three years — everybody seems fine. It’s very popular,” he said.
The product’s ability to deliver a high is, well, high, especially since it’s ingested through the nose.
“Your nasal mucosa is very vascular and things are absorbed very readily through it. That’s why cocaine is so popular,” Osborn says.
However, the same effect can likely be achieved just by putting it on your tongue.
“Chocolate-covered espresso beans get you pretty jittery, and it seems that this would have the same effect,” he says. “By snorting it, you’re taking some risk with no perceived benefit compared to just eating the product.”
You know, like club kids have been doing for decades.