Can a Carolina Reaper Kill You

Can a Carolina Reaper Kill You? Answered (Updated)

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Shari Mason

Certain people enjoy the excitement of consuming spicy meals, while others elevate it by consuming intensely hot peppers either on their own or as an ingredient in their dishes.

Ghost peppers are no longer the king, as Carolina Reaper now holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s hottest pepper. So, the question is, can a Carolina Reaper pepper kill you?

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the world’s hottest chili pepper. 

Can Eating A Carolina Reaper Kill You?

Harvested Carolina Reaper Peppers

Contrary to popular belief, no. Carolina Reaper pepper does not kill, nor is it essentially the reason for death. It just triggers life-threatening medical conditions that eventually lead to it.

It is also the case with other superhot chili peppers, like the Ghost pepper or Scorpion pepper, when eaten in large amounts.

Therefore it is not recommended to eat by those who are allergic to spicy food, is underage, pregnant, or have any underlying health problem. 

Some of the most common and mild side effects of eating a Carolina Reaper are vomiting, stomach cramps or stomach pain, an upset stomach or diarrhea, and heartburn.


How Hot is the Carolina Reaper?

Carolina Reaper registers an average of 1.4 to 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale, crowning it as the hottest pepper in the world by the Guinness World Records.

The first bite is acceptable, but one after another, as you chew on the Carolina Reaper seeds, it will start to feel like molten lava dwelling in your mouth down to your digestive system while getting you extremely pale.

“When the world stands against you break out your spiritual pepper spray – The promises of God!”

― John M. Sheehan.

Imagine the pain like a military-grade pepper spray spritzed on your eyes. Carolina Reaper can also cause painful burns on your skin, so wear gloves when handling them.


How Much Carolina Reaper Can Cause Death?

One Carolina Reaper won’t cause death but eating more than 3 pounds, whether in whole or powder form, in one sitting can put a 150-pound person on a hospital bed and die.

As a general rule, when dealing with the hottest peppers, you cannot handle eating more than 1/50 of your body weight. 

What Will Happen If You Eat Carolina Reaper?

Man Holding Carolina Reaper

Intense Burning of Throat & Mouth

The intense burning sensation is the most common effect when you eat a Carolina Reaper or other super hot peppers. 

The capsaicin compounds in the pepper activate the sensitive pain receptors in your mouth, advising the brain that your mouth is being threatened.

Increased Heart Rate 

Eating super-hot peppers or extremely hot sauces leads to an increased heart rate or heart palpitations whether or not you’re allergic or sensitive to peppers.  

Also, capsaicin causes heartburn since it slows down digestion and sits foods in the stomach longer, triggering a discharge of stress hormones and increasing the heart rate.


You will sweat from eating a Carolina Reaper or other extremely hot peppers due to the capsaicin they contain. It triggers the nerves and increases body temperature.

As your temperature rises and the heat levels become impossible to handle, it triggers your body to sweat and regulates your body temperature until it has cooled down and normalized.

Difficulty Breathing

If you’re not used to eating spicy food, hot sauce, or this super hot pepper, your pain receptors will easily trick your brain into thinking that you are on fire, and your body may react with inflammation. 

This response can cause your throat to swell and make it difficult for you to breathe.

Body Irritation

Capsaicin is the compound that gives chili peppers their heat. It binds to heat receptors on pain nerve fibers all over your body. 

Once your body senses it, it immediately convinces the brain to believe that certain areas in your body are burning when it is just our body’s normal response.

Stomach Discomfort & Vomiting

You can still feel pain and inflammation as the pepper passes through your stomach and intestines. Aside from serious discomfort, it can make you feel like vomiting.

The mucus production in your gut heightens as it attempts to flush the substance out of your body as quickly as possible, which results in diarrhea.


Eating Carolina Reapers in large amounts is associated with developing cardiovascular diseases [1], which can eventually lead you to experience a heart attack. 

Furthermore, if you’re allergic to the capsaicin in this chili pepper, it can trigger a severe allergic reaction called Anaphylaxis which is deadly and can kill you.

What Makes Carolina Reaper So Hot?

What makes the hottest pepper in the world so hot is its more capsaicin content (which makes chili peppers hot) than the other peppers and thus making it far hotter.

It stands out as it contains a Scoville Heat Unit of approximately 1.4 to 2.2 million.

Furthermore, Ed Currie, founder of Puckerbutt Pepper Company in South Carolina, was relentlessly pursuing breeding the hottest pepper possible.


u003cstrongu003eWhat to drink after eating a Carolina Reaper?u003c/strongu003e

Drinking milk will help soothe and neutralize the spicy kick Carolina reaper peppers give. Milk contains casein which is a protein that breaks down every capsaicin compound.

u003cstrongu003eWhat is the hottest pepper ever eaten?u003c/strongu003e

Pepper X is the hottest pepper ever eaten thus far, which rates at 3,180,000 Scoville Heat Unit, topping the Dragon’s Breath Chile.

u003cstrongu003eWhat is the world record for most Carolina Reapers eaten? u003c/strongu003e

The world record for the most Carolina Reapers eaten is 44 chilis, and was done by a man named Greg Foster u003ca href=u0022[u003c/au003eu003ca href=u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003e2u003c/au003eu003ca href=u0022]u003c/au003e. Greg is still alive and actively trying to set new fastest chili-eating records. 

Key Takeaways

Carolina Reaper is the world’s spiciest pepper to date and is generally safe to eat. The pepper itself will not kill you, but instead, will the severe medical conditions it triggers.

Pepper X has a million more Scoville units than the Carolina Reaper; however, it hasn’t been branded yet as the world’s new hottest chili pepper due to its heat level instability.


Shari Mason

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