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  • Writer's pictureShannon

Snort and get a sweet high from the superfood everyone is talking about

As our shopping trolleys and skincare gradually load with organic products, so as the latest not-so-humble party drug of choice. Apparently, the one of the healthiest sweet, cacao powder is taking the place of alcohol and illicit substances like Molly and ecstasy in parts of Western partygoers’ drinks. You can eat it, drink it and even sniff it. Cacao is totally legal – and you don’t have to hide in the bathroom to do it. The point is, does this superfood become one of the party drugs for partygoers?

If you’ve ever indulged in a cacao truffle, you probably noticed feeling a little happier, and that feeing makes sense. At a monthly long party in Berlin, ravers kept dancing until dawn just from the buzz of raw chocolate taking in drink, pill or powdered form. Lucid manifesto said: “We do not serve alcohol, but this does not make us ‘anti’ anything. We have local artisans and culinary adventurers serving various high vibe medicines such as raw cacao, super-food smoothies, herbal concoctions, vegan cuisine and much more.” At Lucid, almost 200 people were drinking cacao and other organic food together, and then had a little meditation section, and followed with a six-hour electronic music dance-off.

It’s funny when you think about how it’s actually just chocolate, and we are trained to treat as something naughty. This makes us wonder, does it actually have the same effect as other party drugs? Or is it more of a placebo effect?

First of all, we need to know the different between cacao and the milk chocolate we always eat. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume and it tastes a lot bitter than the chocolate bars we see in grocery store. On the other hand, milk chocolate, white chocolate or any kind of chocolate bars in the market are usually processed with a lot of added sugar, milk and many artificial ingredients. While during the processes, certain compounds in cacao are degenerated and therefore become less healthy and fatter. So don’t expect you can pull out Twix bars at your next party and induce a full-on cacao powered buzz.

As you know, cacao is often labelled as the superfood, even good for weight lost and body building. That’s true. The raw, natural cacao powder is very rich in antioxidant, calcium and iron properties. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that says “raw cacao increases the number of endorphins in your bloodstream, floods it with muscle-relaxing magnesium, and is choc-full – if you’ll forgive the pun – of plant based nutrients called flavanols that increase blood circulation and stimulate brain powder, but you’d have to truckload lot of the stuff in order to actually feel any of this.” The combined effect of cacao powder is a legal sweet buzz with the scent of chocolate. However the ‘high’ is actually very subtle, you may not experience that without any music and lighting.

The use of cacao powder is not a trend that comes from nowhere. This all began in Western Europe, started in up-scale, experimental restaurants, where chefs were experimenting with new ways to derive pleasure from foods. These chefs soon discovered that snorting the powder caused a large rush of endorphins as well as a great deal of energy. After that, people began designing compounds including other substances like mint in order to create a more sniffable powder. They also created a plastic canister designed to send the compound into your nostrils.

From there, the cacao snorting crazy quickly spread from those trendy restaurants to Berlin nightclubs, where partiers were searching for a unique drug experience. Promoters at various clubs began selling the powder to club goers. The trend then spread across clubs in continental Europe, before becoming popular in the UK.

Dominique Persoone, a Belgian chocolatier, invented a ‘Chocolate Shooter’ for a Rolling Stones party in 2007. It was a snorting device so you can conveniently snort your choco in powdered form, just like cocaine. He was the one who popularized the act of snorting cacao powder. Actually many high-end restaurants in western European started serving powdered cacao for snorting. One of the most well-known restaurant is the Fat Duck. Chef Heston Blumenthal has a reputation for going extra miles and making impossible possible. There is a chocolate fridge in the kitchen with boxes of ‘Oxchoc’ inside, a beef-flavoured Twix. He also created innovative dishes such as Cauliflower risotto with cacao powder on top.

Across the ocean in the state, an Orlando-based company Logal Lean Co. released a snortable chocolate compound called ‘Coco Loko’ which was labelled as a drug-free high few months ago. It promised users to get the “motivation that is great for partygoers to dance the night away without a crash”. Although western European was the one who popularize the use of cacao powder, the American made it go even further and more accessible.

Insiders at the Berlin circuit reported that doing lines of raw cacao powder is actually a thing that’s happening at clubs, and people are even popping it as they would ecstasy on the London and New York scenes.

What makes cacao differ from other illicit drugs is that cacao doesn't distort your reality. There are no hallucinogenic side effects by snorting cacao, and of course any danger of needle sharing infections. Cacao simply amplifies the experience under the beats of house, hip-hop, funk and electronic music, rather than alters it with alcohol or drugs. The mood-busting effects of cacao are ‘subtle’ and it’s not like tripping on acid. What’s more, consuming cacao doesn’t give you hangover, and it doesn’t make you pay for being happy with an equal part of sadness days after.

Snorting cacao powder is all-jolly now in clubs and bars, but could this trend make chocolate to be the next legal high to fall foul of the government’s ban on psychoactive substances?



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