HomeAddictionWhip-Its, Whippets, Whippits as a Drug - Facts & Long-Term Effects

Whip-Its, Whippets, Whippits as a Drug – Facts & Long-Term Effects

If you think a loved one may be abusing whippits, the following facts about whippets are a must know.

For years, nitrous oxide has been a safe and medically prescribed pain treatment. However, people abuse the gas, N2O, as a recreational drug for its euphoric, relaxing, and dissociative effects. Known as whippets, whippits, or whip-its, this drug is a common propellant, aerating agent, and gas ingredient in whipped cream dispensers. Since whippets are legal and so easy to obtain, they are very popular among teens. If you think a loved one may be abusing whip-its, the following information about whippets drug abuse are a must read.

Whip-Its, Whippets or Whippits Drug

Whippets drug canister

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what, exactly, whippits are. If you’re also confused, whippits, whippets, and whip-its all refer to nitrous oxide being used as a recreational or social drug. Whip-its are a type of inhalant, which, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is an inhaled drug that is easily accessible and common in the home.
Two of the most popular ways to inhale whip-its are via whipped cream dispensers and party balloons. However, inhaling the gas from the whipped cream canister is difficult and may cause frostbite, so people often release the gas into a balloon. The balloon warms the gas, making it easier to inhale.

Nitrous Oxide Has Been Around for a Long Time

Nitrous oxide was discovered between 1772 and 1793 and used for anesthesia in 1844. Its debut as a generally accepted method, however, came in 1863, when Gardner Quincy Colton introduced it more broadly at all the Colton Dental Association clinics, that he founded in New Haven and New York City.

Whippits Drug Inhalation Among Adolescents

teen use Whippets drugInhalants are mostly used by young kids and teens and are the only class of substance used more by younger than by older teens. Since they are so easy to acquire and they’re legal, teens feel comfortable using them heavily. While it can be difficult to obtain illegal substances, whippits are available at the grocery store, making them a popular choice for teens searching for a quick, fast and easy way to get high.

Whippits Are a Real Problem

While inhalant abuse, commonly known as “huffing,” is often not taken seriously, it is a real problem. According to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI), more than 22 million Americans age 12 and older have used inhalants. Inhalant abuse remains the least-studied form of substance abuse, although research on its epidemiology, neurobiology, treatment, and prevention has accelerated in recent years.
Unfortunately, teens and young people often have a false sense of security about whip-its. They feel safe experimenting with a familiar, household product, not knowing its potential for abuse and addiction. What’s scary is, when misused, whip-its are far from harmless.

Nitrous Oxide: Can You Overdose? How Much Is Lethal?

Whippits produce a rapid, short-lasting high, which encourages teens to abuse them repeatedly over a short period of time. Individuals who abuse laughing gas by inhaling containers of it easily exceed this safe ratio and can experience toxic and overdose effects after several minutes of continued exposure However, because of nitrous oxide‘s short half-life, overexposure to whip-its would be expected to significantly dissipate once the person stops breathing in the substance and breathes normal air. Continuing to inhale the N2O for more than several minutes can result in significant toxic issues. Continuing to inhale it on a regular basis can lead to serious chronic issues.

Whippits Can Damage Your Organs

As mentioned, under the right circumstances and with long-term use, whippit abuse can cause serious organ damage and even death. At risk of organs include the brain, lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

Greater risk of lung injury and frostbite of the mouth, nose, and vocal cords occur when the gas is inhaled directly from a canister such as whipped cream or air canisters you use in your office to keep your keyboard dust free.

Nitrous Oxide is Safe when Prescribed

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While whip-its and whippit abuse can have many dangerous side effects, N2O is routinely prescribed by medical professionals. You may know nitrous oxide as “laughing gas,” but it isn’t just limited to dentistry. It’s also used to help managing pain during labor and delivery as nitrous oxide does not limit mobility, slow labor or cause significant risk to the baby.

Nitrous oxide is safe in a medical environment because medical professionals ensure that the patient is getting plenty of oxygen. Its effects take place within the pain centers of the brain and spinal cord providing pain relief.

Medical Conditions When N2O is Not Safe for Treatment

Nitrous oxide can cause a rise in intra-cranial pressure, so it should not be used in cases of head injury and it must never be used if the user has any conditions where air is trapped in the body and expansion would be dangerous, for example:

  • intoxication
  • pneumothorax
  • abdominal distension
  • suspected intestinal obstruction
  • bullous emphysema
  • middle ear procedures
  • following a recent dive
  • maxillofacial injuries
  • impaired consciousness

Are Whippits Addictive?

Are Whip-Its Addictive?Whip-its are not known to cause physical dependencies or withdrawal symptoms, but N2O can be psychologically addictive.

It begins when a person abuses nitrous oxide regularly. A person’s body can become tolerance to it, which leads them to consume more of the substance to achieve the same sense of euphoria or high.

If continued indefinitely, the body will keep increasing tolerance levels and the person abusing whip-its may continue to increase consumption of the street drug.

There Are Signs of Whippits Drug Abuse to Watch For

A person who has been abusing inhalants will have a drunken appearance, their speech will be slurred and they will be disoriented. They can become nauseated and will not be interested in eating. Pupils of the abusers eyes will be widely dilated.

Keep an eye out for cracked whipped cream cans or whipped cream dispensers. People who abuse whippits will often break open the canisters and cartridges to obtain the N2O inside.

There may be the presence of odd-smelling balloons lying around. Because they’re such a popular receptacle for nitrous oxide, balloons are commonly found in the homes of people who abuse whippits.

Signs of Whippits Drug AbuseCan B12 Help Treat Complications of Whippits Drug Abuse?

Abusing whippits can prevent you from producing enough active vitamin B12 in your body, thus causing deficiencies and leading to a variety of health problems, most notably:

Taking vitamin B12 supplements may minimize these effects while your body is recovering from whippits. While a doctor is planning your recovery treatment, the may recommend a B12 supplement to help prevent your mind and body from developing new problems while you’re in recovery.

Whippits Drug Long-Term Effects

Repeated whippit abuse can lead to severe, irreversible organ damage. Regularly depriving the body of oxygen is a fast track to impaired vision and hearing, mobility problems and lung, heart, kidney and liver dysfunction.

Vitamin B12 deficiency from use of whippits can cause skin hyperpigmentation, subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord, and megaloblastic anemia. Although vitamin B12 deficiency rarely occurs in well-nourished, healthy, young people, nitrous oxide (N2O) intoxication is an important cause of vitamin B12 deficiency if abused regularly for a long period of time.

Whippits Drug Abuse Is Treatable

There are plenty of drug rehabilitation programs that can provide a safe, evidence-based recovery program for whippits recovery. If you, or believe a loved one may have a problem with whippits abuse or addiction, reach out to an addiction treatment facility get help as soon as possible.

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Pain Resource uses a team of writers, including current and past employees and guest bloggers. We regularly feature physicians, medical experts, healthcare bloggers and people who live with persistent pain and want to share their story. If you’re interested in writing for Pain Resource, please send your blog article or idea to info@painresource.com.

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