In recent weeks, a terrifying new trend has started to sweep the Internet. Armed with bags of Carolina Reapers, Ghost Peppers, and 7 Pot Douglah, men and women across the world have been filming themselves eating, smoking, snorting, and vaping some of the world’s most fiery chilis—often with disastrous consequences. Our own Sean Evans took a scenic ride through Central Park with Chili Klaus only to be pummeled by the capsaicin-packed power of the Reaper.
While the Carolina Reaper may be Kryptonite to two pepper-eating champs like Sean and Klaus—clocking in at 2.2 million units on the Scoville scale—as it turns out, there seems to be an antidote in the works.
According to the Daily Meal, scientists have developed a synthetic version of capsaicin—the active component in chili peppers—that can neutralize the pain receptors used for spicy foods and make people “invincible to ghost peppers.” Known as capsazepine, the chemical is not yet available to the general, chili-loving public, but is instead being studied as a powerful pain-reliever.
While the prospect of painless chili-eating marathons still feels pretty far in the future, there are a couple other drawbacks associated with capsazepine, too. First, the chemical has to be ingested before eating any ghost peppers (chugging a bunch of milk might still be your best bet after the fact). And though capsazepine does prevent tongue-burning, it doesn’t mean all those other uncomfortable side effects just magically disappear.
As far as vaping a bunch of crushed up Carolina Reapers goes—well, we’re not sure science will ever find a cure for that kind of masochism.