About a year ago, reports started circulating that the newest party drug was making its rounds. What's surprising is that the substance people were snorting in search of the perfect buzz it actually isn't a drug, but everyone's favorite dessert ingredient: chocolate.
While some thought it was a hoax, Berlin insiders reported that kids are doing lines of raw cacao powder in dance clubs. It's even being served at events like Lucid as a way to help people dancing and happy all night long. (Did you know Dark Chocolate Could Give You An Edge At the Gym?) The craze is apparently legit enough to spur a new product—Coco Loko, a snortable chocolate powder made by Orlando-based company Legal Lean. (Their first product, Legal Lean, is a mood-enhancing drink made of herbal extracts and vitamins to help you ~chill out~.) Coco Loko contains, yes, cacao powder, as well as other buzz-boosting ingredients such as gingko biloba, taurine and guarana, which are all commonly found in energy drinks. Like energy drinks, Coco Loko is said to make you feel "euphoric but also motivated to get things done,” and lasts about 30 minutes to an hour, according to Nick Anderson, the founder of Legal Lean, as reported by the Washington Post.
But can you really get high from snorting cacao? Science is giving us a firm "maybe—wait, why are you asking?" on this one. Raw cacao powder—the kind straight from the bean, uncut with milk, sugar, or any of the flavorings that make it not taste like dirt—is a nutritional powerhouse. (Check out 5 Reasons Chocolate Is the Best Treat Ever.) Chocolate is a good source of endorphins, and it contains tryptophan, a micronutrient that increases dopamine. These two neurotransmitters are known as "the feel-good chemicals," which might explain the euphoria cacao snorters report. Cacao also has caffeine, a stimulant, and epicatechin, a chemical that improves blood flow to your brain and muscles, both of which could give you a little physical and emotional boost. There's a reason people have been eating and drinking chocolate for millenia, after all.
Plus, it's legal and—at face value—a lot better for you than other club drugs like Molly or cocaine.
None of this is to say, however, that snorting plain cacao powder—or Coco Loko—is a good idea. We definitely do not endorse putting anything up your nose other than a tissue or your finger (and in the case of the latter, only when strictly necessary). At this time, there isn't any research showing the effects of snorting cacao—but there is plenty of science that backs eating in. So stick to getting your fix through cacao-dusted chocolate truffles, cacao smoothies, and dark chocolate bars with cacao nibs. (You can even Eat Chocolate at Every Meal with 6 Healthy Recipes.) We probably don't have to tell you that twice!