Dark chocolate on a table

17 Aug Cacao Powder: The New Party Drug

There is a new drug that is hitting the party scene in Europe and some of North America.  It claims to be “au natural,” legal, and a ton of fun.  It replaces illicit drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and ketamine at many raves and parties.  Some clubs even serve it instead of alcohol.  

So what is this new party drug?

Cacao powder — otherwise known as the main ingredient in chocolate.  


What does it do?

Ingesting cacao floods the brain with endorphins and serotonin, producing a euphoric feeling.  Due to its high flavonoid content, it increases blood circulation and stimulates the brain, and can also relax the body.  Essentially, you receive a rush of energy and happiness from taking pure cacao.  Ancient Aztecs and Mayans used cacao in rituals, as it produced a feeling of euphoria.  

How is it taken?

The most common way that people take cacao powder is by ingesting it.  It can be added to drinks (a club called Lucid mixes it with honey, agave syrup and cinnamon), eaten plain, snorted through the nose, and sometimes even popped as a pill.  If snorting is your method of choice, you can get your hands on the Chocolate Shooter, invented by Dominique Persoone that you can use to blast cacao powder into your nose to experience a quick high.  The device started as a joke, they were catering a party for the Rolling Stones and thought it would be a unique way to engage the attendees with the food.  Pretty soon everyone wanted their own Chocolate Shooter, and the company started mass producing them.  

Is it safe?

Compared to other drugs, maybe.  It all depends on how you take it.  Snorting or inhaling cacao is very dangerous.  Snorting any type of powder is not safe, as your body marks it as a foreign and toxic substance.  It can damage the cilia and membranes of the nose, and can cause scarring.  If you snort impure cacao (like Nesquick), you can do even more damage.  

Otherwise, doctors have not determined using cacao powder to be dangerous.  Cacao does not distort reality or intoxicate individuals to the same level as illicit drugs, but it does produce a high that clubgoers seek.  Some doctors even attribute that high to a placebo effect — clubgoers expect cacao to give them a high, so it does.  However, it is never good to use one substance as a replacement for another, even if it is chocolate.  


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