Snortable chocolate may pose dangerous threats that its health effects need to be investigated, U.S Sen. Charles Schumer has said.
Caffeinated Cocoa Powder Snorted Like Cocaine
Amid the growing popularity of Coco Loko, a caffeinated cocoa powder that people snort like cocaine, Schumer has called for a crackdown on the cocoa product citing that little is known about its ill effects.
In a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday, the lawmaker urged federal regulators to look into the use of caffeine in inhalable products such as the Coco Loko cocoa powder, which is infused with ingredients used in energy drinks and is being marketed like a drug.
"This suspect product has no clear health value," Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said. "I can't think of a single parent who thinks it is a good idea for their children to be snorting over-the-counter stimulants up their noses."
Energy Booster Without The Crash
Legal Lean Co., which produces the product and markets it as raw cacao snuff, claims that the powder can give partygoers the burst of energy needed to "dance the night away without a crash." The company also claims that the product can give its users mental clarity and ecstasy-like euphoria albeit it acknowledged that its claims have not been vetted by health regulators.
Legal Lean founder Nick Anderson has said that he did not consult medical professionals, but thinks that Coco Loko, which is sold online for $19.99 for a 1.25-ounce tin, is safe.
Anderson said that he developed the product from snortable chocolate that circulated in Europe, where some clubgoers use raw cacao in place of harder stimulants. In 2007, Belgian chocolatier Dominique Persoone invented the Chocolate Shooter device designed to snort cocoa powder.
The ingredients of the Coco Loko include cacao powder that comes from the same beans used in making chocolate, which contain some caffeine. The other ingredients of the product were not detailed online but Coco Loko also reportedly includes gingko Biloba, Taurine, and guarana, ingredients commonly used in energy drinks.
Dangers Posed By Snortable Chocolate
Taurine and guarana are known to increase blood pressure and trigger heart palpitations. Doctors said that the negative effects of these ingredients could be worse when the product is directly inserted into nasal cavity. Health experts also noted of other dangers of snortable chocolate.
"There are a few obvious concerns," Andrew Lane, director of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center, said. "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."