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The Bizarre Reason People Are Sniffing Chocolate

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People Are Sniffing Chocolate Now Because This World Is Weird

By Marygrace Taylor

Chocolate is pretty magical. Not only is it obviously super delicious, but it's been proven to have a whole host of various health benefits. Yes, chocolate has literally been touted for everything, from heart health to weight loss, and even relieving period cramps. And apparently, it can also get you kind of high.

Yeah, you read that right.

Here is the bizarre reason people are sniffing chocolate:

It may sound like something out of an R-rated version of Willy Wonka, but using raw cacao powder — you know, the stuff that chocolate is made from — as a drug started catching on in 2016. Partyers at some LA events were starting to snort the stuff in an attempt to get a buzz that was both legal and cheap.

They didn't come up with it, though.

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Way 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, hosted monthly gatherings where people drank cacao in meditative, mind-expanding rituals. The organizer likened the experience to a "smooth, sensual hug in a cup." 

It's important to keep in mind that cacao isn't actually a drug. But it does boast some properties that you could call drug-like.

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Cacao is rich in something called flavanols, which relaxes blood vessels and boosts blood flow to the brain, and 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 and causes 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.

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If you do, you could actually risk damaging the tiny hairs inside of your nose, or even risk possibly scarring your nasal tissue, experts say.   

And anyway, you've probably already experienced a mild version of cacao's happiness-inducing effects the last time that you ate a piece of dark chocolate. But what can you do if you really want to try getting a bigger buzz on during your chocolate-eating time?

Just play it smart and make some hot chocolate using raw cacao powder. Not only does it come with zero risk, but it’s way more delicious anyway.

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Marygrace Taylor is a health and wellness writer for Prevention, Parade, Women’s Health, Redbook, and others. She’s also the co-author of Prevention’s Eat Clean, Stay Lean: The Diet' and Prevention’s 'Mediterranean Kitchen.

This article was originally published at Prevention. Reprinted with permission from the author.