There’s a new challenge on TikTok, and it involves young people eating nutmeg in an attempt to get high. However, it’s not safe. Don’t participate in the TikTok nutmeg challenge.
According to Healthline, nutmeg is a spice that is also known as Myristica fragrans. You might have tasted the fragrant spice in pumpkin pie, eggnog, or holiday foods and drinks like those. Ingested in small quantities, it’s safe. However, eaten in large quantities as a drug? That can cause big problems.
That hasn’t stopped people on TikTok.
Here’s an example on TikTok.
TikTok sent Heavy this statement, “The safety and well-being of our users is a top priority at TikTok. As we make clear in our Community Guidelines, we do not allow content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies dangerous challenges that might lead to injury, and we remove reported behavior or activity that violates our guidelines. To help keep our platform safe, we have introduced a slate of safety features geared towards enhancing our users’ experience, including tools for reporting inappropriate content and managing privacy settings.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Studies Have Found That Eating Nutmeg Can be Dangerous & Even Fatal
Myristicin is the chemical in nutmeg that’s said to produce the high. This chemical affects “the central nervous system (CNS) by enhancing the neurotransmitter norepinephrine,” reports Healthline.
One study that looked into nutmeg dangers appeared in the Emergency Medicine Journal. “Nutmeg poisoning is rare but probably underreported and should be considered in recreational substance users with acute psychotic symptoms as well as central nervous system neuromodulatory signs that may mimic in part an anticholinergic hyperstimulation,” it says.
The study documents the case of a teenage girl who had an adverse reaction to nutmeg:
A previously well 18 year old student presented with complaints of palpitations, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, thirst, and dry mouth. She was very anxious, restless, and agitated and described being ‘in a trance state.’ She specifically felt ‘like Jack in the box wanting to get out’ but did not have hallucinations. She did not complain of urinary or abdominal discomfort and gave no history of seizures or migraine. She had an unremarkable medical and psychiatric history and denied any suicidal ideation. The patient refused to give any information regarding recreational drug use.
It turned out that the girl had ingested almost 50 grams of nutmeg in a milkshake, according to the study. The girl recovered. This study found that there isn’t a lot of research into the topic, noting, “Nutmeg intoxication has scantily been reported in the literature. Such reports span the period between 1908 and present day, although some claim that the first reported evidence of its effects was reported by Lobelius in 1576.” The medical literature does report two “fatal overdoses,” according to the study, which added that symptoms can include “dry mouth, facial flushing, nausea, unsteadiness, epigastric pain, urinary retention, and blurred vision.”
Another study on the topic of nutmeg intoxication appeared in The Netherlands Journal of Medicine.
“Nutmeg ingestion in large amounts can cause toxic symptoms such as hallucinations, tachycardia and anticholinergic effects. We describe a case of a 37-year-old woman who experienced an unintentional autointoxication of nutmeg. It is likely that nutmeg intoxication is underreported. We suggest to specifically think of nutmeg ingestion in case of symptoms as mentioned above,” this study found. “In large quantities, nutmeg has toxic effects including hallucinations, tachycardia, nausea, vomiting, agitation, and hallucinations. Because of these effects it is occasionally used as a recreational drug.”
It doesn’t take much for nutmeg to be toxic, either. “Toxic symptoms have been observed with a nutmeg dose of as little as 5 g, which is equivalent to two teaspoons or two-thirds of a tablespoon of grated nutmeg,” the study found.
For all these reasons — just don’t do it.
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