Can You Really Get High From Snorting Chocolate?

photo credit: Cacao contains endorphins, which can elevate people's mood. joannawnuk/Shutterstock

An unusual new craze has been hitting dance floors across the world over the past couple of years – and no, we’re not talking about twerking. In an attempt to get high without breaking any laws or putting dangerous substances into their bodies, revelers have turned to snorting chocolate, or snocolate, as we’re calling it.
The trend appears to have originated in Berlin, where raw cacao has been served at events like Lucid in place of alcohol or more conventional illicit drugs. More recently, a number of rave venues across Europe and the US have begun offering the substance in the form of powder, pills or as a drink.
You could argue, of course, that the craze actually started way before the German capital established itself as the hipster capital of the world, as cacao is well known to have been widely used by pre-Columbian civilizations like the Aztecs and the Mayans.
Considered to have divine properties, the seeds of the cacao tree were often used during rituals and ceremonies in order to elevate participants to a state of ecstasy – which, in many ways, is exactly what it is now once again being used for.
Exactly how effective cacao is at getting people high has not yet been established, although there are a number of reasons why it might work. For starters, it contains endorphins as well as a chemical called tyrosine, which is a precursor to dopamine. Since both endorphins and dopamine are natural neurotransmitters known to induce feelings of pleasure, it’s unsurprising that people have been reporting that snocolate helps to elevate their mood.
Some rave events are now offering cacao in place of alcohol and other drugs. Olga Visavi/Shutterstock

Cacao is also rich in antioxidants such as epicatechin, which increases blood flow to the brain and the muscles, giving people both a physical and an emotional kick that could help them dance for longer. Since epicatechin has also been shown to protect neurons and improve cognitive function, this is clearly a preferable option to other dance-fueling substances like cocaine and MDMA, even though cacao is unlikely to match the high generated by these drugs.
Naturally, for the drug to work, it needs to be as pure as possible, and not cut with any fillers like milk or sugar. This means that only raw cacao will do the trick, and putting M&Ms up your nose is unlikely to have any effect other than blocking up your airways.
However, this shouldn’t be taken to mean that snorting cacao is necessarily safe. Understandably, there is no scientific evidence regarding the safety profile of snocolate, as it’s never really been high on any researcher’s list. Yet as a general rule, it’s a good idea to think of the nose as a one-way system, and that while things may regularly come out of it, sending material the other way and up towards the brain is probably not a wise move.

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