Is It Safe To Eat a Raw Carolina Reaper?

If you love spicy food, you know that the Carolina Reaper is officially the hottest pepper in the world.

Some diehards eat these chilies in chili eating contests, and there are videos of people eating them as a dare all over the internet, which brings us to the question: Is it safe to eat a raw Carolina Reaper?

It is relatively safe to eat a raw Carolina Reaper; however, there are many side effects, including nausea, stomach ache, increased heart rate, and a severe burning sensation in the mouth and digestive system. Eating a raw Carolina Reaper is not advised as it can cause extreme discomfort and pain.

If you like the burn of super-hot peppers, you might be thinking of braving a California Reaper. In this article, I will discuss whether it is safe to eat a raw Carolina Reaper, if eating a raw Carolina Reaper can make you sick or kill you and the side effects of eating a raw Carolina Reaper.

How Safe Is It To Eat a Raw Carolina Reaper?

Carolina Reaper Pepper

Eating a raw Carolina Reaper is not a good idea; it has a delicious fruity taste but can cause extreme burning and other side effects.

The first bite you take will taste amazing, and for a second, you will think that people are overreacting, but then the heat will kick in, and you won’t be able to focus on anything but the burn.

It is safe to eat a raw Carolina Reaper if you can handle the heat and if you are not sensitive to capsaicin, the ingredient that causes hot peppers to burn. Carolina Reaper peppers have a SHU of up to 2.2 million and can have harmful side effects if ingested raw and in large quantities.

Some people build up a tolerance to extra spicy food from eating it often and might be able to eat the Caroline Reaper without too many side effects, but do not let this fool you.

If you have never eaten a Carolina Reaper or any other super hot chili peppers, it is good to start with a pepper-like jalapeno to see how your system handles it.

Jalapeno Peppers
Jalapeno Peppers

The jalapeno pepper has a Scoville Heat Units or SHU rating of between 2,500-8,000, which is nothing compared to the Carolina Reaper. If you can handle eating a raw jalapeno, work your way up to a habanero, which is delicious but super hot, coming in on the SHU scale at between 100,000-350,000. 

If you can’t handle the heat, don’t try to eat hotter peppers, but if you feel like you can handle more, you can try the Ghost pepper, which has a rating of 1 million SHU.

From there, you can try the Scorpion pepper, which can have a SHU rating as high as 2 million, and then the Carolina Reaper.

Can Eating a Raw Carolina Reaper Kill You?

Eating a raw Carolina Reaper is not going to go down well, it might have a sweet fruity taste, but it doesn’t take long for the heat to set in, causing your mouth and digestive system to feel like it is on fire.

Eating a raw Carolina Reaper most likely won’t kill you, but it can have severe side effects.  It is possible that eating a huge amount of peppers can cause some serious medical issues; however, it is rare and usually happens to people taking part in chili eating contests.

It is possible to be sensitive to capsaicin or even allergic to it, which can cause horrible side effects. Always ensure that you are not allergic or sensitive to the ingredient before trying to eat any hot peppers.

As reported in the British Medical Journals, there was an instance where a 34-year-old man suffered from Thunderclap headaches after eating a Carolina Reaper at a chili eating contest. He only consumed one pepper but soon started dry heaving, and in the days to follow started suffering from extreme neck pain and headaches. 

He went to the hospital, where they diagnosed him with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), which caused a major artery in his brain to contract. After eating super-hot chili, he recovered fully but was the first person diagnosed with RCVS.

There was also a report of a man suffering from a spontaneous esophageal rupture after eating a ghost pepper and a group of middle school kids who had harmful side effects after eating Carolina Reapers at school. The teachers had to call EMTs to treat the kids, but nobody had to go to the hospital.

Can Eating a Raw Carolina Reaper Make You Sick?

Nobody wants to feel sick, but some people continue eating scorching peppers for some reason. Whether for a challenge or just because they love super spicy food, the internet is full of videos showing people eating hot peppers and suffering the consequences. So, except for the fact that the Carolina Reaper is really hot, can eating it raw make you sick?

Eating a raw Carolina Reaper can make you sick. It is the hottest pepper in the world and has been compared to having molten lava in your mouth and digestive system. Some of the most common side effects are vomiting, stomach aches, severe pain, and an upset stomach.

A helpful tip that will help lessen stomach discomfort is to eat fatty, greasy food before eating a raw Carolina Reaper. Capsaicin only dissolves in fat, so don’t drink water after eating it; instead, drink milk to help lessen the burn.

People who suffer from certain diseases, like acid reflux, gallbladder issues, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, should not eat hot peppers as it can make things worse for them.

Side Effects of Eating a Raw Carolina Reaper

Eating a raw Carolina Reaper can cause many side effects, and even if you do not get sick, the burn alone can make you feel like you are dying. 

Children should never be allowed to eat chili as the side effects can be much worse for them.

Some side effects that you might experience after eating a raw Carolina Reaper are:

  • A burning feeling in your mouth and digestive system.
  • A burning sensation in your chest
  • Sweating
  • Tearing eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Ringing ears
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Hyperventilation
  • Tightening feeling in your throat
  • Increased saliva
  • Hiccups
  • Belching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Stomach pain
  • An upset stomach
  • Shaking
  • Panic

The side effects can last anything from half an hour to a day or two, so be sure that you can handle the heat before trying to eat a raw Carolina Reaper.

Here is an informative YouTube video showing what happens to your body when you eat a Carolina Reaper pepper.

What Eating The World's Hottest Pepper Actually Does To You

Final Thoughts

It isn’t completely safe to eat a raw Carolina Reaper, but it is unlikely to kill you. There are many side effects of eating super spicy peppers, and you need to know about them before eating a raw Carolina Reaper.

Make sure that you can handle the heat by eating other, less hot peppers and making your way up to the hotter ones before trying to eat a Carolina Reaper.

Keep some cold milk nearby, and remember not to touch the pepper with your hands. You don’t want to get capsaicin in your eyes or on any sensitive body parts.


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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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