There’s a new product out for sweet-tooths to get hooked on: snortable chocolate.
Coko Loko is a chocolate powder consisting of cacao and other ingredients commonly found in energy drinks, New York Post reports. The product made its debut last month, and is advertised as a legal, snortable, drug-free way to get a quick energy fix – and a chocolate rush.
However, doctors are already worried about the safety risks involved in people shooting chocolate up their noses.
Nick Anderson, the entrepreneur heading the company Legal Lean, came up with the product. Touted as a safer, legal version of codeine cough syrup (also called “lean” or “purple drank”), Legal Lean was created as a stress reliever supposed to “relax the mind.”
But Coko Loko serves a different purpose. Mixed in with cacao powder is gingko bilboa, taurine and guarana, which are also on the ingredient list for Red Bull and Monster. The product produces a swift energy boost that lasts for 30 minutes to an hour, creating an endorphin rush without the succeeding sugar crash.
The 29-year-old Anderson said,
It’s almost like an energy-drink feeling, like you’re euphoric but also motivated to get things done.
Snorting chocolate is not something new. Club-goers in Europe often use raw cacao as a substitute for harder drugs. Belgian-based chocolatier Dominique Persoone even caused a sensation in 2007 when he launched a Chocolate Shooter device for snorting cocoa powder.
For its part, Coko Loko makes use of cacao, which is processed at lower temperatures than cocoa, meaning it has more nutrients. But the other ingredients are what health experts point to as dangerous. Taurine and guarana have been known to increase blood pressure and cause rapid heart palpitations. Doctors fear that these negative side effects will be worse when directly inserted in a person’s nasal cavity.
Dr. Andrew Lane, director of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center, said, “There are a few obvious concerns. 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.”
The product has not yet received FDA approval, as the agency is still deciding how to regulate it.