Often used to relieve pain in dentists and doctors’ offices, nitrous oxide is also used as a propellant in aerosol cans and is sold as an add-on to rev up car engines to drive faster. Unfortunately, nitrous oxide is also known by teens as the name of “whippets” when it is abused recreationally in order to get high.
When the gas is removed from a pressurized whipped cream canister, it is known as doing a “whippet.” Much like any drug-induced high, there are serious dangers that come along with it. We at Asheville Detox want you to fully understand these risks so that if you have been doing whippets you know how important it is that you stop.
What Are Whippets?
Whippets are a slang word for nitrous oxide that is found in a can of whipped cream. They may also be spelled whip-its or whippits. Users crack them open and then usually transfer the gas into a balloon or a bag before inhaling the nitrous oxide.
How Are Whippets Used?
First of all, a majority of people who are doing whippets are teenagers. It all begins with a simple, completely legal purchase of whipped cream canisters from your local grocery store. The gas from the canister is then transferred to a balloon to be inhaled, or the canister can just be covered with a bag or a face mask and the user can just inhale it that way.
The high that is gotten from “huffing” is fairly intense but doesn’t last for long, so they may repeat the process. Many people believe that inhaling nitrous oxide is harmless, so they keep doing it.
Side Effects of Doing Whippets
While the idea of inhaling gas out of a whipped cream can may sound like a funny activity to some, it is no laughing matter. Here are the side effects that can happen from inhaling nitrous oxide from a whippet.
- Feeling of lightheadedness
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Peripheral nerve damage
- Weakness in your muscles
- Leg paralysis
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Spinal cord disease
- Brain damage
When you inhale the nitrous oxide, you will immediately feel pleasurable. If you do it excessively, or with long-term use, the side effects become more extreme. Over time, muscle weakness may worsen and nerve damage may set in.
Because the brains of young people are still forming, they may be particularly at risk to the side effects of whippets. Using them frequently could alter the development of their brain and cause real brain damage.
Although repeated use of whippets is troubling, even doing it once is a problem. This is because even the first time, you can develop asphyxia when your brain becomes deprived of oxygen. As a result, your organs can fail, you can develop brain damage or you can even pass away.
What Are the Dangers of Doing Whippets?
When you do a whippet, you are essentially depriving your brain of oxygen. That is why doing whippets over and over again can be life-threatening. For example, when you do a whippet with a bag over your head, or if you have a nitrous oxide tank with a face mask, it can result in irreversible brain damage, or you can even lose your life.
Another big risk is that you don’t know how your body is going to react to the nitrous oxide. For example, some people can become very ill or can even die by inhaling the smallest amount of nitrous oxide. For some, it can cause loss of lung or heart function, cause seizures or irregular heart rhythms.
If drinking alcohol or doing drugs, the risk of death is much higher. If you do whippets long-term, serious organ damage and death may result. Your brain, lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver are all at risk. If you overdose on whippets, you may go into an oxygen-starved coma.
Another serious danger with doing whippets is that when you are high on them, your judgment and muscle control are impaired. This means that you are much more likely to do something that will cause harm to yourself such as accidentally walking into traffic for example. Tripping and falling when high on nitrous oxide is very common.
Is Nitrous Oxide Legal?
Under United States Federal Law, possession of nitrous oxide is legal. With that being said, it is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. You can be prosecuted if you distribute nitrous oxide for the purpose of human consumption on the recreational drug use market. Some states don’t allow it to be sold to minors, other states set a limit on how much nitrous oxide can be sold without a special license. With that being said, anyone can go to the grocery store and purchase canisters of whipped cream and do whippets.
Is Nitrous Oxide Addictive?
It is currently unknown the mechanism of exactly how nitrous oxide alters the brain’s reward system to cause addiction. However, addiction can and does happen. Many times, a teen wants to get high, and perhaps nitrous oxide is all they can get their hands on. If an individual finds it difficult to stop using whippets or is experiencing negative consequences from using them and refuses to stop, they may have an addiction to nitrous oxide.
Get Help Today at Asheville Detox
If you have found yourself addicted to doing nitrous oxide or any other drugs for that matter, the smartest move you can take is to stop cold in your tracks. We at Asheville Detox have observed the undesirable outcomes of drug abuse time and time again. Many people think, “It won’t happen to me.” But guess what. It can and it will.
Young people, letting go of getting high on nitrous oxide and other dangerous drugs will help ensure that you have a healthy tomorrow and a brighter future. Allow us to help you untangle the web of addiction you have gotten yourself into. Call us today and speak to one of our friendly and helpful counselors.