In an era where the borders between pleasure and health are often blurred to the point of invisibility, the story of Diamond Shruumz’s microdosed edibles reads like a cautionary tale. From New York to California, as case reports of seizures and acute hospitalisations bark out, chocolate touches on darkness, the threat of diarrhoea lurking in pursuit of the evermore precious promise of health.


A series of severe poisonings that the Food and Drug Administration attributed this month to ingestion of certain types of chocolate candy. Not just any chocolate but microdosed chocolate by Diamond Shruumz, a company that adds powders to make its chocolates ‘promised to do more’. Backed by promises to do more, the chocolates more than rose to the occasion: the company’s chocolate induced seizures and even the need for intubation. Between December of last year and February of this year, a dozen people in eight states showed up at hospitals for medical care following the ingestion of the company’s chocolate. Ten of the dozen were hospitalised.

A Bitter Pill in a Sweet Package

The fact that these chocolate candies offered no such protection is only part of the story: marketing claims made them an especially worrisome case. Advertised as containing a ‘primo proprietary blend of nootropic and functional mushrooms’, Diamond Shruumz’s chocolates – including all flavours of their Microdosing Chocolate Bar – were marketed as offering cognitive boosts and stress relief. The IOM’s findings showed ‘distressing symptoms’ other than those promoted for the drug. What are the ramifications of Edible’s shift away from wellness? Just what do federal regulators and archaic cocoa farmers have in common? And what might the Edibles story tell us about our unending cultural experiment with psychoactivity, drugs and food? Importantly, one of the greatest changes in Edible’s history can be found outside of their chocolate packaging.

The Expanding Web of WARNINGS

But after those first reports came out, the FDA expanded its warning beyond the chocolate bars to cover the lot’s Infused Cones, Micro Dose, and Macro Dose Gummies. As of June 9, the most recent instance reported, the agency remains investigating how this happened – and why this ingredient list caused these severe reactions – prioritising consumer safety over wellness claims.

The Shadowy Ingredients Behind the Scenes

The story deepens, however, since it is not clear what psychoactive compounds, if any, these chocolates contain. The term ‘microdosing’ is used, but lab analysis has shown there is no psilocybin present – a potent psychedelic compound found in mushrooms. The company just lists its blend of Lion’s mane, Reishi and Chaga mushrooms – all of which are known for their non-hallucinogenic properties in traditional medicine. What is lurking in there?

The Sweet Seduction of Misleading Marketing

At the same time, this incident shines a light on the more sinister forces at play in the wellness industry, where the promise of your health might be dressed up in a way that’s little more than an imposition. Theerakul’s cookies are exactly the kind of thing that a chocolate lover is bound to be drawn to; the lure of nootropic benefits is hardly going to affect the market for milk chocolate, let alone detract from it. If anything, this is an indication of how dietary supplements might begin to be marketed, and counterfeited, as candy.

The Future of CHOCOLATE: A Call for Clearer Distinctions

Until the FDA, America’s Poison Centers and the Centers for Disease Crisis and Prevention – which are all now investigating the incident – release a verdict, there remains a chance that such infused chocolates might not stay legal. The Diamond Shruumz incident serves as a call to every consumer to stay vigilant – who are we to trust to regulate our safety? And it shows us, more generally, who shapes our ideas of what exactly it means to be ‘well’ in the ‘wellness’ industry.

Understanding CHOCOLATE Beyond the Sweetness

Chocolate is not just candy, then or now. Its history, geography, flavours and potential health benefits have long fascinated the human race. From the bitter ceremonial drink of ancient Mesoamerica to our beloved delicacy, chocolate has always occupied a specific and enchanting place in the human dietary arena. But this episode shows that, in our age of wellness and health-oriented consumption, the childhood confection launches into adulthood with problems of its own. It is a hard lesson in the value of honest production, transparent marketing and the vigilance of consumption.

Jun 12, 2024
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