A new snort-able chocolate powder has come onto the market as a way to get a quick buzz, but doctors warn it could cause serious health problems.
Coco Loko, a powder intended to be inserted directly into the nasal cavity, debuted last month as a legal, drug-free way to get a quick energy boost.
But Dr Jordan Josephson, a sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, and author of Sinus Relief Now, told Daily Mail Online he thinks there is slim chance a chocolate powder could give you a high, and it will simply cause health issues.
‘Powder should never be snorted or put up someone’s nose,’ Dr Josephson explained. ‘It’s just going to lead to infection, obstruction and sinus problems down the line.’
‘Because the product has sugar in it, it will likely create a sludge, blocking the nasal passageway and keeping sinuses from doing their job, which is adversarial to the lungs.’
The product was created by 29-year-old entrepreneur Nick Anderson, who owns the Orlando-based company Legal Lean.
For $19.99, Coco Loko is available on the company’s website, where it’s described as giving the user an endorphin rush, a serotonin rush, euphoric energy and a calm focus.
Other retailers, including Amazon and some local smoke shops and liquor stores have started shelving the product, though hesitantly.
GLOBAL CHOCOLATE SNORTING TREND
Chocolate being used as a legal high has been around since at least 2005, when a Belgian chocolatier popularized the idea.
Dominique Persoone made a device in 2007, which he brought with him to a Rolling Stones party, which allows people to conveniently snort chocolate powder on the go.
In recent years, the craze swept through Europe’s clubs, with some events offering it in the place of alcohol or drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.
Advocates for the trend say the raw cocoa, which can be taken in drink, pill or powdered form, is much more potent than previously believed.
The chocolate powder allows club-goers seeking out a healthier way of achieving a high.
It provides a rush of endorphins into the user’s bloodstream, and contains high amounts of magnesium, which relax the muscles.
That’s because Coco Loko has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Its main ingredient is cacao powder, which is high in nutrients and low in fatty acids and sugars, but it also contains ingredients found in energy drinks like Red Bull or Monster, such as gingko biloba, taurine, guarana and ginseng.
Those ingredients, though naturally occurring, can be linked to serious health problems in high doses.
Taurine is an amino that supports neurological development and regulates minerals in the blood. Too much, though, can be lead to dangerously low blood pressure.
Ginseng, gingko biloba and guarana, on the other hand, are inherently safe, but can become incredibly dangerous when combined with caffeine and sugar. When taken in energy drinks, they can cause high blood pressure, heart palpitations, fatigue, insomnia, dehydration and even kidney failure.
As a result, doctors worry about the existing negative side effects when the product is inserted directly into the nasal cavity.
Dr Josephson explained that, while there are no studies to show it will cause these problems, there are also no studies to show it works.
‘Noses already have enough problems with pollution, which we can’t control,’ he explained. ‘Putting powder in your nose is just a bad idea.
‘One of the benefits seems to be that you are avoiding the calories by snorting the powder instead of eating a chocolate bar. But really, anything you put up your nose will end up in your stomach eventually, so why not just enjoy the chocolate bar or have a glass of chocolate milk.’