Chocolate sundae? Good. Chocolate candy bar? Good. Chocolate dipped fruit? Good.
Snort-able chocolate powder? Maybe not so good.
This new powder is called Coco Loko,, though it is also referred to as “Cacao Snuff.” It is produced by Legal Lean and is now available in stores, despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s lack of approval. Its effects are said to be an endorphin and serotonin rush, also referred to as “euphoric energy” and a “calm focus.”
Now, to the problems.
“The question is, what are the risks of doing it?” said Dr. Andrew Lane, director of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center. “There’s no data, and as far as I can tell, no one’s studied what happens if you inhale chocolate into your nose. When I mention it to people, nobody’s ever heard of it.”
What is known, though, are the general consequences of stimulants, such as increased blood pressure and heart palpitations—both of which Lane says can be intensified if said stimulant is inhaled. If that wasn’t worrisome enough, the exact physical dangers of inhaling a cacao-mixture haven’t been studied, and the hypotheses are just a tad bit frightening.
“First, it’s not clear how much of each ingredient would be absorbed into the nasal mucus membranes. And, well, putting solid material into your nose—you could imagine it getting stuck in there, or the chocolate mixing with your mucus to create a paste that could block your sinuses,” Lane said.
Chocolate-infused-cement-mucus sounds awesome.
Experts are also considering the potential cultural dangers, which were enough to lead Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer to write a formal statement to the FDA asking for further investigation into the product.
“It is crystal clear that the FDA needs to wake up and launch a formal investigation into so-called Coco Loko before too many of our young people are damaged by it,” Schumer said. “This product is like cocaine on training wheels.”
Needless to say, the FDA has much to consider when it comes to the safety of this product. Is it a fun, new way for chocolate-lovers to get a dose of caffeine, or is it a gateway to future dangerous practices?
Emma Korstanje is a freelance journalist based out of Athens, GA.