When I was young, there was a strange kid at my school who snorted pixy stix to amuse his friends. It seemed like a really dumb thing to do and he immediately regretted this decision. The fame was not enough to make up for the strange, sour taste in the back of his throat and the piercing pain in his sinuses. He likely grew up and (hopefully) grew out of mindless, attention-seeking shenanigans. Most people do. But, obviously some don’t and that’s why Coco Loko exists.
The snortable cacao-based powder just arrived on shelves and people are already comparing it to the similarly-named Four Loko. You remember Four Loko, right? That super caffeinated, high-alcohol drink that pretty much turned people into blackout werewolves a few years ago. Well, this Loko isn’t related to that one, but it is supposed to give the snorter a rush of endorphins, serotonin, and euphoria. Founder Nick Anderson claims that the effects last about a half hour.
Apparently, snorting chocolate is nothing new. People have already been doing it in Europe for months. Anderson heard rumblings about it, tried it and liked it enough to launch his own product. He decided to invest $10,000 to research and create his own snortable cacao. BUT WAIT! In an epic twist, literally nose candy is not regulated by the FDA and is already being lambasted by the medical community.
Countless doctors have written and spoken about the negative health effects of imbibing energy drinks. The combination of multiple stimulants can raise your blood pressure to unsafe levels and could even lead to a heart attack. Since the idea of a snortable energy drink is fairly new, it’s safe to say we don’t even yet know the long-term effects. That doesn’t stop doctors from theorizing that this trend won’t end well.
“First, it’s not clear how much of each ingredient would be absorbed into the nasal mucus membranes. And, well, putting solid material into your nose — you could imagine it getting stuck in there, or the chocolate mixing with your mucus to create a paste that could block your sinuses,” Dr. Andrew Lane, director of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center told the Washington Post.
Coco Loko is produced by a company called Legal Lean. If you visit their website, you’ll see that they also make something called “Purple Drank Relaxation Syrup” and Legal Lean Syrup that is a drug-free version of the drink that is commonly made with codeine cough syrup, fruit juice or soda, and jolly ranchers. It’s also known as “Sizzurp” and has some potentially serious side effects, landing Lil Wayne in the hospital.
Four Loko was fun while it lasted. But, after much controversy, the company was forced to remove the taurine, caffeine, and guarana from the formula. Will Coco Loko meet the same or a similar fate? Is getting a burst of energy from snorting a line of cacao worth it if you might be hurting yourself in the process? I guess you have to decide if you’re grown up enough to make that decision.