• People across Europe are snorting cocoa to get high (Jayca via Flickr)Source: Jayca via Flickr
It’s a trend sweeping Europe, and it’s now made its way to the US. But what is ‘snortable chocolate’, and more importantly, is it dangerous?
Lucy Rennick

12 Jul 2017 - 1:29 PM  UPDATED 14 Jul 2017 - 10:56 AM

We all know that kid who tried snorting wizz fizz in the ‘90s. We also know it likely didn’t end well – some things (pretty much everything, really) aren’t meant to go in the nose.

But what about chocolate? A new product called Coco Loko is being marketed as ‘raw cacao snuff’, or snortable chocolate. According to a product description on the website, snorting chocolate is a pretty good time: “a sudden rush of serotonin will produce an elevated mood and state of euphoria similar to the feeling of ecstasy. This is the feeling that will make music sound better and overall happiness.”

Poor syntax aside, we’re just not sure about this.

Coco Loko founder Nick Anderson landed on the idea after travelling through Europe and noticing a “chocolate snorting trend”. Anderson launched the Coco Loko product in Miami under his banner company, Legal Lean (which is exactly what it sounds like – a drug free version of the drink made up of codeine cough syrup and fruit juice or soda, commonly known as ‘purple drank’). Tins of the chocolate powder are going for US$24.99 (A$32.70) a pop, each one containing a mix of raw cacao powder, ginkgo biloba, taurine and guarana.

“I didn’t consult with any medical professionals, I basically just saw what was going on in Europe,” he tells Good Morning America. “There was no health issues, it’s been out two, three years and everybody seems fine. It’s very popular.”

Unsurprisingly, the US Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved Coco Loko. “First, it’s not clear how much of each ingredient would be absorbed into the nasal mucus membranes,” Dr. Andrew Lane, director of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Centre told the Washington Post. “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.”

The producer's own website even warns that Coco Loko should be used with caution, saying that their product is "not recommended for children or pregnant women." It could also impair your ability to operate machinery, including a car, and "may cause health problems" - all things that eating chocolate orally won't do. In fact, a 2016 Canadian study found possible benefits of eating chocolate when pregnant.

US Senator Chuck Schumer has written to the FDA calling for a formal investigation into the product, saying it puts children and teenagers at risk. “ ‘Coco Loko’ isn’t even pure chocolate at all. Instead, it is chock full of concentrated energy drink ingredients masked and marketed under the innocence of natural and safe chocolate candy. Parents and doctors don’t want kids snorting anything at all, especially not dangerous stimulants," he said in a statement.  

Where this trend travels is yet to be seen, as is how the FDA handles it moving forward.

All we can say is, what happened to consuming chocolate the old-fashioned way?

Lead image: Jayca via Flickr

Normal ways to use chocolate
Fudgy chocolate and cherry brownies

This brownie one of those wickedly rich, unashamedly fudgy and completely over-the-top ones – the type that never disappoints. But be warned, only a small piece will suffice. Feel free to replace the brandy with an orange liqueur or whiskey. Alternatively, for a kid-friendly version, simply replace it with water.  It is also particularly good served for dessert with a generous scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream.

Mexican chocolate donuts

These doughnuts - donas de chocolate Mexicano - are made using a special filled pancake pan, but you can also make them as regular pancakes, and serve the filling as a topping. 

Belgian chocolate mousse

You can't get more decadent that this delicious Belgian chocolate dessert recipe. It's best to make your chocolate mousse or mousse au chocolate Belge one day ahead. You'll need six transparent glasses, or you can serve the mousse in an attractive bowl.