Don't try this at home, folks.
It sounds like something out of an R-rated version of Willy Wonka, but using raw cacao powder—yes, the stuff that chocolate is made from—as a drug is catching on. Partyers at some LA events are snorting the stuff for a buzz that’s both legal and cheap.
They didn't come up with it, though. Back in 2007, Belgian chocolatier Dominique Persoone invented a chocolate-shooter for a Rolling Stones party. After that, getting high on cacao started becoming a thing in Europe. So much so that a club called Lucid, in Berlin, hosts monthly gatherings where people drink cacao in meditative, mind-expanding rituals. The organizer, who recently spoke with Ozy, likened the experience to a "smooth, sensual hug in a cup."
Cacao isn't actually a drug. But it does boast some properties that you could call druglike.
Cacao is rich in flavanols that relax blood vessels and boost bloodflow to the brain. Which could have something to do with why studies show that the stuff can make you happier, relieve stress, and even boost your mental sharpness. Plus, it's got caffeine and theobromine (a caffeine-like compound) that blocks sleepiness-causing chemicals in the brain to help you feel more energized.
Cacao also isn't a controlled substance, which means that neither the DEA nor the FDA can stop fun-loving Americans from sniffing the stuff. But even though eating it is perfectly safe, snorting it probably isn't a great idea. You could damage the tiny hairs inside of your nose, or scar your nasal tissue, experts say.
And anyway, you've probably already experienced a mild version of cacao's happiness-inducing effects the last time you ate a piece of dark chocolate. But if you really want to try getting a bigger buzz on? Play it smart and make some hot chocolate using raw cacao powder. It comes with zero risk, and it’s way more delicious.
This article was originally published at Prevention. Reprinted with permission from the author.