Does Cupid artificially stimulate emotions in his victims by dipping the tips of his arrows in raw cocoa? Should he switch from a bow to a bowl of powdered cacao beans and a straw? That’s the word out of dance clubs and raves where hipsters claim they’re getting legally “high” on cocoa, with some using a special device designed for snorting pure, raw cocoa powder. Is it time to ditch the local bar on the corner for a chocolate bar up the nose?
Let’s get the medical and scientific views on this first. The first users of cacao (the original name for cocoa) were the Mayans and Aztecs, who consumed it unsweetened during rituals to help achieve a state of euphoria (you know something was happening because they kept it from women and children). They didn’t know then that cacao contains endorphins which trigger the brain’s pleasure responses and antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and muscles. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says its magnesium can relax muscles and other ingredients can improve thinking (other than thinking about romance or where to get more candy). Does this mean that cacao snorters are actually getting high? And what kind of high is it?
Alchemy & Eros, a trendy club in Berlin, Germany, holds what it calls a “monthly cacao-fuelled dance party” where clubbers imbibe in powdered, liquid or pill-form cacao that club employee Ruby May says gives them “natural high vibes” that “amplify” their experience like a “smooth, sensual hug in a cup.”
Those who prefer their cacao by the toot can thank Belgian chocolatier Dominique Persoone who invented a “chocolate shooting device” based on a tobacco shooter his grandfather once used (it’s actually a device for making cigarettes by shooting tobacco into rolled papers). Persoone claims he developed the chocolate shooter for the Rolling Stones in 2007 (is snorting chocolate keeping Keith Richards alive?), has sold 25,000 of the shooters and says that shooting or snorting cacao is perfectly safe, even though the packaging warns about the harms of excessive usage (who wants Hershey nose?).
Are ravers really getting high on snorting, drinking or swallowing (but not eating – that’s for the unhip masses who will never get into the clubs anyway) cacao? Experts say there’s too little of the psychoactive ingredients in it to create a high and what they feel is a placebo effect. However, they warn to use only pure raw powdered cacao (no M&Ms), avoid harmful additives and snort in moderation.
That’s good advice. As Dominique Persoone says:
I’m not the bad boy promoting drugs, not at all… Life is boring. Let’s have fun.