Updated on April 3, 2024
4 min read

What Are Whippits and How Can They Be Abused?

Key Takeaways

What are Whippits?

Whippits are canisters full of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. Although nitrous oxide is mostly used for anesthetic purposes, some use it as a recreational drug.

The inhaled drug is easily accessible and commonly found at home. People who use whippits typically experience relaxing, euphoric, and dissociative effects.

However, huffing inhalants can have dangerous and even life threatening side effects. If you start using this drug early, you may struggle with nitrous oxide abuse later.

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Is it Illegal to do Whippits? 

Inhaling whippits is illegal in the United States because medical professionals don't consider it a safe drug. However, you can acquire them legally.

They're also very easy to obtain. The nitrous oxide canisters used as whippits are also used to refill whipped cream or balloon dispensers.

Their accessibility is what makes whippits dangerous. More than 12 million users in the United States have tried whippits at least once.

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Short & Long-Term Side Effects of Whippits

Most inhalants, including whippits, affect the body’s central nervous system (CNS) and slow down brain activity by cutting off oxygen to the brain. This causes the euphoric effect.

Although whippits don't affect intelligence, memory, or concentration, they still have side effects. Researchers believe it can depress all sensations, including pain, hearing, and touch.

It can also cause short and long-term side effects. However these side effects can vary depending on:

  • Weight or size
  • Overall health
  • How much nitroux oxide you inhale
  • Other substances you may be taking at the same time
  • How frequently you inhale nitrous oxide

Short-Term Side Effects of Whippits

The immediate side effects inhaling a balloon or whipped cream dispenser will vary from person to person. Here are a few of the side effects whippits can cause:

  • Feelings of being high
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Tingling
  • Feelings of being tired or weak
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Airiness
  • Lack of balance
  • Fuzzy eyesight
  • Nausea with or without vomiting 
  • Slurred speech
  • Distorted speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Hallucinations (Dissociatives)
  • Delusions

Long-Term Side Effects of Whippits 

Prolonged use of nitrous oxide can take a damaging toll on your brain and body, including:

  • A lack of oxygen
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage or kidney failure
  • Hearing loss
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of coordination
  • Limb spasms
  • Delayed behavior development
  • Brain damage
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Temporary loss of motor control
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Permanent ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • Birth defects if used during pregnancy
  • Incontinence
  • Psychological issues from depression to psychosis

Young people, especially, are susceptible to substance abuse. This kind of drug use can take an increasingly damaging toll on the body over time. Addiction can also affect you physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially.

Are Whippits Addictive?

Whippits can be addictive when used in excess. Nitrous oxide has euphoric qualities that help reduce anxiety. When it's used like this it can be easily abused.

By affecting the brain's reward center, you can develop a psychological dependence on whippits. An addiction to whippits can be dangerous.

Excessive nitrous oxide use can cause asphyxia or a lack of oxygen. If you or someone you know is addicted to whippits, contact a medical professional.

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Treatment for Whippit Abuse 

If you or a loved one is struggling with whippit abuse or the abuse of other drugs, help is available.

Treatment options include the following:

  • Inpatient rehab facilities: Live-in centers offering access to medical resources and psychological support from trained personnel
  • Outpatient rehab facilities: Offer the same support as inpatient facilities without residency
  • Detox programs: Can help you wean off your drug addiction slowly and steadily
  • Group therapy: Offers guided conversations and psychological practices with trained professionals and the support and inspiration of others in similar situations
  • Traditional talk therapy: can help you identify and unpack any conscious and subconscious triggers of substance use, as well as resolve repressed memories and emotions that may be at the root of your addiction
  • Alternative addiction treatment programs: might include holistic medications, spiritual retreats, religious practices, etc.

How Do People Use Whippits?

Whippits produce an odorless nitrous oxide gas found in steel canisters. These steel canisters are typically used for whipped cream cans.

You'll need to breathe in the fumes from a closed space to use it as an inhalant drug. You can cover your face and the canister with a bag or a mask. You can also put the gas into a balloon and inhale it that way.

Nitrous oxide is typically safe to use for medical reasons. But, it can be harmful when inhaled to get high. Whippit highs are short, so many users huff the fumes repeatedly after their first high.

Summary

Whippits are canisters full of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is typically used for anesthesia and other medical reasons, but whippits can be used as recreational drugs.

Despite it being illegal to use, whippits can be obtained legally and are easy to get. These steel canisters can be found in whipped cream dispensers.

Using nitrous oxide for medical reasons is typically safe. However, abusing whippits can lead to unwanted side effects, addiction, or dependence.

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Updated on April 3, 2024
6 sources cited
Updated on April 3, 2024
  1. Becker, D. and Rosenberg, M. “Nitrous Oxide and the Inhalation Anesthetics.Anesthesia Progress, The American Dental Society of Anesthesiology, 2008.

  2. The Blackberry CenterNestled in a tranquil setting just outside of Orlando. “Whippits Drugs: 11 Facts You Need to Know About Whippets.The Blackberry Center of Central Florida, 2020,

  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Inhalants DrugFacts.National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020.

  4. Oxide (Noz) and Its Effects on the Body: Whippets Drug.Laguna Treatment Hospital.

  5. Thompson et al. “Whippits, Nitrous Oxide and the Dangers of Legal Highs.Practical Neurology, BMJ Publishing Group, 2015.

  6. Wagner et al. “Asphyxial Deaths from the Recreational Use of Nitrous Oxide.Journal of Forensic Sciences, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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