FDA issues warning about snorting chocolate

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For a while last year, snorting chocolate was a thing. It was peddled to folks in the club scene as an alternative to doing illegal drugs. Now, federal regulators have issued a warning to a company that distributes chocolate to be used for snorting.

Known as Coco Loko, this is a powder mixed with other ingredients usually found in energy drinks. While not referring specifically to Coco Loko, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned that inhaling chocolate powder can cause vocal cord spasms that make it hard to speak or breathe and may induce or aggravate asthma. It can also cause tightening of the muscles that line the airways in the lungs. Two of the ingredients — taurine and guanine — have not been evaluated for use through inhalation.

The powdered chocolate, sold by Orlando-based Legal Lean, debuted in mid-2017. The company’s website promises that Coco Loko will provide a blast of the feel-good chemical serotonin — similar to the euphoria produced by the club drug ecstasy. The company’s website cautions users to consume it responsibly, and that is isn’t intended for children or pregnant women.

The agency’s warning letter asked Legal Lean to explain how the issues will be corrected. Failing to correct those issues could result in the FDA seizing property or obtaining a legal injunction.

Physicians and consumers can report adverse effects at the agency’s MedWatch web page at FDA.gov.

While Coco Loko has been on the market for almost a year, it’s still unfamiliar territory for doctors. No one has studied what happens to the body when cocoa powder is inhaled.

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