The Brief: TikTok videos promoting or joking about consuming large amounts of nutmeg have been spreading, sparking concerns about the dangers associated with the so-called Nutmeg Challenge.
Nutmeg has long been used as a questionable recreational drug. Its spread to TikTok in the form of the “nutmeg challenge” has caused concerns about people consuming the spice in unsafe ways.
Nutmeg As A Drug
People have been known to consume excess amounts of nutmeg in attempts to achieve a hallucinogenic high from a chemical called myristicin, which is found in nutmeg. A study conducted by researchers from Universiti Sains Malaysia found that 5 grams of nutmeg can produce psychogenic results.
Although uncommon, there have been reports of nutmeg poisonings from the consumption of as little as two teaspoons of nutmeg. Small amounts are safe in cooking, but overdoses have been associated with adverse effects including hallucinations, drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, confusion, seizure, organ failure, and even death.
#NutmegChallenge On TikTok
As with other dangerous internet challenges like the Tide Pod Challenge, Cinnamon Challenge, or Shell-On Challenge, much of the content about these challenges doesn’t actually depict people participating in it. Many of the TikTok videos labeled under the #NutmegChallenge are warnings against trying the challenge or appear to feature people only joking about and pretending to participate. That being said, these sorts of videos can still promote dangerous activities to viewers who may not be aware of their serious risks.
In some videos, TikTokers who claim to have eaten (or inhaled) large amounts of nutmeg report seeing smurfs or elves and experiencing other hallucinations.
A TikTok spokesperson told Insider that “the company is actively removing videos encouraging the nutmeg challenge” in accordance with their policies against drug-related content. However, at the time of writing, videos associated with the hashtag #NutmegChallenge have been viewed over 46.8 million times on TikTok.