A new craze has hit the scene of legal highs, and it is one that is more widely available than any other. Not only is it cheap, plentiful, and inconspicuous, there is no way that it will ever be made illegal. What is this new high people are embracing with abandon? Snorting chocolate.
From Berlin with love
Belgian chocolatier Dominique Persoone is the originator of the latest way for people to enhance their lives. He designed a chocolate-sniffing device based off the design of his grandfather’s device used for inhaling tobacco snuff. Originally used at a Rolling Stone party in 2007, the device has sparked a trend of snorting cacao powder the way Scarface snorted cocaine.
He says the trick is to mix the cacao powder with something else, to prevent caking in the nostrils. He first started with chile powder, but soon found out that was the wrong way to go. Now he mixes it with smoother combinations like powdered mint or raspberry, and by 2014, he had sold over 25,000 of the devices. He has created gourmet mixes of cacao with bacon & onion, ginger, oysters, and even grass.
If you just sniff chocolate, it’s too dry. It’s like a chocolate jellyfish in your nose. So we need something to pump it up.
I might have a few ideas for that mix. Some kief might be perfect, and better than grass, for sure.
The appeal of snorting chocolate
Raw cacao has been served at events like Lucid in place of alcohol or other conventional drugs, and more recently, has been offered up at both European and US venues in the form of powder, pills, and as a drink.
A drink? Like chocolate milk? Not exactly. The seeds of the cacao tree were originally considered to have divine properties and were used by native peoples in ceremonies and rituals to increase personal mental states to the level of ecstasy. Only later was it processed and mixed with sugar and milk to produce the chocolate we most often eat today.
If you have ever eaten gourmet chocolate that is very dark, or around 85% pure, you know that it is very dry and bitter.
Does it actually get you high?
The effectiveness of cacao as a psychological elevator hasn’t been established, though chocolate, in general, is ingrained in modern culture as “sinfully delicious”, and often compared to the pleasures of sex. In its pure form, one could expect the experience to be that much more intense. Take a look at kids after trick-or-treating, and you know chocolate might be wild after all.
The chemistry behind cacao’s buzz is that it contains endorphins as well as tyrosine. Tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine, which fuels the body’s pleasure/reward system. The dopamine receptors in our brains are also the same system that opioid-related drugs, including heroin and Oxycontin, react with for their intoxicating and addictive properties.
Both dopamine and endorphins produce pleasure, so the reported effects of chocolate powder sniffing causing euphoria are not without merit, or science to back them up. While the practice hasn’t been scientifically researched for safety, “snocolate” as it is now being referred to certainly isn’t cocaine or heroin, and as widely accepted as chocolate is in modern culture, it isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.
Snorting chocolate, have you tried it? Will this be the next cautionary PSA for Halloween? Is Easter going to be raided by the DEA? Share your thoughts on social media or in the comments below.