Chocolate: The New Party “Drug”

In Europe, cacao has become a substance of choice for raves instead of using illicit drugs.[1] The chocolate is generally consumed in either an infused drink with agave and cinnamon, swallowed through a pill, or snorted through the nose.divine-chocolate-300x195

The most popular place for partying with cacao is at Lucid, a monthly gathering in Berlin, “where music, dance, community and natural high vibes roam wild and free.”[2]  The Chocolate Line, a Belgian company, popularized the inhaling of cacao powder when its founder, Dominique Persoone, introduced his chocolate shooter at a 2007 Rolling Stone party. [3] Persoone recommends that the powder be combined with mint or ginger to open and “tinkle” the nose, and that the powder must be cut to prevent caking and burning. Persoone has sold over 25,000 of his snorting devices.[4]

Demand isn’t for Hershey’s bars or cocoa baking powder, but for raw, virgin cacao which is pure and potent and not processed with milk and sugar. Even before the Europeans came to the New World, cacao was consumed and revered by the ancient civilizations. In the Aztec Empire, the seeds were used a form of currency.[5]

Cacao is not a drug and doesn’t cause a high, but is used as a replacement to enhance the ravers’ experience. Chocolate users report an amplified mood without the negative effects of synthetic drugs which cause dependence by weakening the body’s neural pathways. News outlets reporting on the new trend cite a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which found that the flavanols in chocolate improve cognitive function.[6] The results encourage more research of the nutritional value of cacao, but it’d be an assumption to state that the European partiers are receiving the same cognitive benefits as the 90 elderly patients included in the clinical study.

Chocolate is a brain-booster and provides energy with no known addictive effects, however, critics believe that snorting the powder is harmful and doubt that it’s possible to experience euphoria. Dr. Jordan Josephson, an otolaryngologist and director of the New York Nasal and Sinus Center, believes that,  “Snorting chocolate powder is not safe, because the powder is perceived by the nose as a foreign toxic substance.”[7]  Dr. Catherine Kwik-Uribe, a director of health and nutrition with Mars, Incorporated, believes that the effects of this trend are from a placebo effect as the compounds in the cacao are too low to actually influence your mood.

Cacao’s low-cost, wide availability, and legal status should continue to boost its popularity. Should it become widespread in the U.S., the FDA does not condone sniffing cacao but has made it clear that chocolate is just one of many household products that people inhale but is difficult to regulate. [8]

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Gilbert Garcia has been Passionately Pursuing Justice for over 30 years and founded The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm in 2008. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is a boutique law firm, specializing in Criminal Defense. Gilbert represents adults and juveniles accused of a crime and who have with a felony, misdemeanor or record cleaning case. Conveniently located on the courthouse square to serve Montgomery and Walker Counties. Gilbert became Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1989. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is located at 220 N. Thompson St., Suite 202, Conroe, TX 77301.