One expert agreed that pepper might have a similar effect in the brain.
Biting into the "hottest pepper in the world" sounds painful enough. For example, they can be a sign of bleeding from the arteries which supply blood to the brain, possibly due to a rupture or blockage of the vessels.
Though he displayed no neurological impairment, physicians needed to rule out a life-threatening brain bleed caused by an aneurysm, torn artery, or migrated clot - so they performed a CT scan.
He ate the Carolina Reaper chilli, called the world's hottest by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013.
But when the medical team tried another type of CT scan created to look at the blood vessels in the brain, they had a surprise.
He felt dry heaves and experiencing the unknown chilli in the hot-pepper eating world. It doesn't always have an obvious cause, but can occur as a reaction to certain prescription medications or after taking illegal drugs.
After studying the medical literature, the team concluded that no other cases of chili pepper-induced RCVS have been recorded.
There have been no known cases of RCVS associated with hot peppers.
Because while it's common for the chilli to cause extreme discomfort, it's believed this was the first time it has been linked to thunderclap headaches. But as the acronym includes the word "reversible", the story has a happy ending: His symptoms cleared up by themselves, and his arteries were back to normal in about five weeks, though he's still tragically unable to taste gum. In 2017, the Carolina Reaper took the title again, with a pepper grown in SC that measured 1,641,183 SHUs.
"We are not advising anything against the Carolina Reaper".
They produced the pungent pepper by interbreeding a Bhut jolokia and a red habanero, dubbing it "Reaper" owing to its scythe like tail. Individual samples have been rated at up to 2.2 million Scoville heat units (SHU), and tests in 2017 rated it at... So in addition to making your mouth burn and turning you into a teary-eyed, snotty mess, extremely hot peppers may have more serious health consequences.
It was the first reported case of a patient being diagnosed with RCVS after eating a chilli pepper, the authors said.