Harmful Effects Of Whippets Drug And Available Treatment

What are Whippets Drugs?

Whippets Drugs also called “laughing gas” or “hippy crack” is a slang term for steel canisters filled with nitrous oxide. These steel canisters are used for charging whipped cream dispensers. Whipped cream is a light and airy addition to ice cream sundaes, hot chocolate, fruit, and various other desserts, but those fancy whipped cream canisters hold more than just a delicious topping.

Despite its potential for harm when abused, the steel canisters have legal status in the United States. Although both these canisters and the gas nitrous oxide are safe on their own, whippets can become addictive when used in excess. Nitrous oxide is an odorless gas famous for its euphoric qualities like reducing anxiety and producing a brief high. It can be highly addictive when used for these purposes.

Detroit was a famous city for whippet use in recent years, with authorities uncovering 25,000 steel cartridges in streets and parking lots. However, its recreational use has been on the rise all over the United States, remaining popular with those who attend nightclubs. In addition, some musicians have advertised in their music, concerning those who feel younger people are vulnerable to influence regarding whippet use.

Whippets Drugs
Over time, chemicals found in inhalants wear down the protective sheath of the brain. This can cause loss of brain tissue and permanent brain damage.

Some do not consider whippets a severe drug. However, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) [1], has confirmed it to be one of the most widely abused inhalants, more abused than spray paint, gasoline, and lighter fluid. Additionally, their website says 4.6% of people aged 12 to 17 have been reportedly misusing, while 5.6% of individuals 26 and older have used them. Lastly, a reported 11.8 million individuals reported misusing nitrous oxide in 2016.

Are Whippets Addictive?

Yes, whippets can be addictive. People who use whippets drug regularly can become addicted to the feeling of euphoria, especially when they are used with other drugs, like cocaine or MDMA. However, you cannot become physically dependent on whippets drugs as you can with alcohol or opioids.  

What You Need to Know About Whippets as a Drug

Whippets are psychoactive drugs that are classified as inhalants, much like spray paint, glue, and poppers. People who use whippets inhale nitrous oxide from canisters in different ways. Whippets drugs are the most commonly used inhalants in the country, with millions of people using them each year. 

Does Whippets Drug Cause Withdrawal?

Nitrous Oxide, the active component of the Whippets drug does not cause withdrawal symptoms, aside from craving more of the substance. A user may continuously try to achieve the same, immediate high or try to take bigger “hits” to increase the high once the drug exits the body.

How Whippets Are Used

Whippets can be abused, leaving lasting effects on the person using them. Depending on their frequency of use and abuse, whippets pose both short-term and long-term health effects that range from memory loss to death. Whippets are considered as inhalants that can take more time to become addicted to when compared to other forms of inhalants. A major factor in this is how someone who uses it gets high and how the substance called nitrous oxide affects the brain. 

When a person inhales whippets drug from the steel canisters, the result is a lack of oxygen that occurs to produce lightheadedness. While this may differ from drugs that produce a strong euphoric rush, it still induces an anxiety-reducing sensation that some people enjoy.

Unfortunately, nitrous oxide can impact the brain’s function, and the person who inhales it goes for brief moments without oxygen. Those who abuse whippets drug can either inhale nitrous oxide directly through the steel canisters or use crackers, which are devices used to crack open the canisters and inhale the gas directly. 

Balloons may be more convenient for some users because they can get more gas from them, rather than using canisters. The person would put the balloon to their mouth and inhale the gas for the same effects available in the other methods of whippets drug use. The effects of whippets drug can vary based on the drugs someone has used; the amount of nitrous oxide they have inhaled if they have combined other drugs with it, and how often they have inhaled nitrous oxide [2].

Warning Signs of Whippets Drug Use

Whippets Drug
Most inhalants act directly on the nervous system to produce specific effects on the mind and body. Inhalant abuse can cause extreme harm to the brain, liver, kidneys, heart, and other vital organs in the body.

Individuals may have a whippets drug abuse problem if they frequently act disoriented or if they develop facial rashes or complaints of sore throats (or a “chilled” feeling in the face or throat) for no obvious cause. They may also change their sleeping habits or develop strange odors on their breath. The discovery of cracked aerosol cans, or of any nitrous oxide canisters you didn’t buy, or of deflated balloons with strange odors, is a major red flag.

Do not ignore the warning signs and hope they will go away. Once symptoms become obvious, such as memory loss, personality changes, and impaired cognitive ability—an inhalant user may already have suffered lasting damage. Plus, the longer they wait to get help, the harder it is to quit.

The best time to confront the problem is today, with the assistance of therapists and doctors. Be sure to mention specifically that you suspect whippets drug because inhalant abuse is a problem that even many experienced medical professionals remain untrained in recognizing. You may request a referral to a specialist if necessary.

Whippet Drug Effects & Dangers

Recreational use of whippets, drugs or laughing gas is no laughing matter. Breathing in the nitrous oxide from whipped cream canisters is a type of inhalant abuse, also sometimes known as huffing. While inhaling the nitrous oxide gas from a whipped cream dispenser may not seem all that alarming, there are actually several harmful effects of the whippets’ drug [3]. 

Whippets drug effects can include:

  • Euphoria
  • Asphyxia
  • Brain damage
  • Lightheadedness
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Damage to peripheral nerves
  • Muscle weakness
  • Spinal cord disease
  • Paralysis, especially in the legs

When the nitrous oxide gas is inhaled, its effects are often immediate. When consumed in excess or with long-term abuse of whippet canisters, the nitrous oxide gas side effects become more severe. Muscle weakness may get worse over time, and frequent users may start to experience noticeable nerve damage.

Although health problems can arise with repeated use, whippets are dangerous for first-time users as well. laughing gas or nitrous oxide toxicity can lead to asphyxia as the body and brain become deprived of oxygen. The result can be serious health issues such as organ failure, brain damage, and even death [4].

Long-term Effects of Using Whippets Drug

Doing whippets drugs or abusing Nitrous Oxide in any other form can cause long-term side effects on a person’s health. Inhaling nitrous oxide causes brain cells to die as a result of the oxygen deprivation known as hypoxia. The brain damage can be permanent.

Brain damage from nitrous oxide use causes memory loss in some people. Although rare, psychological issues are possible, ranging from psychosis to depression. Other long-term effects of the whippets’ drug include a buzzing or ringing sound in the ears, incontinence, or disruption to the reproductive system [5]. Congenital disabilities may be possible when a woman uses nitrous oxide during pregnancy.

Prolonged exposure to nitrous oxide may result in: 

  • Memory loss
  • Psychosis
  • Incontinence
  • Limb spasms
  • Depression
  • Vitamin B12 depletion (long-term depletion causes brain and nerve damage)
  • Numbness in the hands or feet
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • Potential birth defects (if consumed during pregnancy)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Disruption to reproductive systems
  • Psychological dependence

Mixing Whippets Drug with Other Substance

There is no current research demonstrating that combining nitrous oxide with other substances increases health risks. However, it is possible that combining the nitrous oxide gas with stimulants and other drugs may cause additional pressure on the heart, increase blood pressure, and may disrupt heart rate.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that combining nitrous oxide with other drugs such as marijuana, LSD, ketamine, magic shrooms, and salvia can cause intense dissociation.

Mixing alcohol and nitrous oxide can cause:

  • Confusion
  • Feeling heavy or sluggish
  • Reduced concentration
  • Loss of body control

Both alcohol and nitrous oxide depresses the central nervous system (CNS) — slowing your breathing. Thus, it increases the risk of overdosing. Doing whippets and drinking also puts you at risk for having an accident, passing out, choking on vomit, and dying.

Individuals can also harm themselves if they use faulty gas dispensers, which have the potential to explode. Dispensing several gas canisters consecutively with one cracker (a handheld device used to ‘crack’ a nitrous oxide bulb/whippet) can also cause cold burns to the hands.

How is Whippets Drug Addiction Treated?

Whippets drug or nitrous oxide addiction treatment is the same as treating other drugs that cause psychological dependency. The treatment also revolves around determining any underlying causes of the abuse and addiction. During therapy, the client will describe when the whippets’ drug use began and what factors contributed to it. The clinicians and therapist will help the client change thoughts and behaviors associated with the abuse, helping the individual to develop better coping mechanisms that don’t involve substance use. 

Drug abuse treatment programs also involve many complementary therapies and treatments. Possible treatment program offerings include specialized therapies, such as music and art therapy, massage therapy, and holistic therapy. Wellness programs that include yoga classes, exercise regimes, meditation workshops may be included as well. Other standards in addiction treatment include individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and 12-Step-based programs.

Find the Right Treatment Plan at We Level Up NJ

The key to nitrous oxide addiction treatment is it should be individualized to fit the unique needs of each person in treatment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone in recovery. A high-quality program will understand this and tailor treatment programs accordingly.

We Level Up NJ provides proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery from whippets drug abuse, and addiction through our medically-assisted Detox Program. So, reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

whippets drug
Reach out for help at We Level Up NJ
Sources

[1] SAMHSA – https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_3095/ShortReport-3095.html#:~:text=Inhalants%20are%20legal%2C%20everyday%20products,potentially%20toxic%20and%20sometimes%20lethal.

[2] DEA – https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Inhalants-2020_1.pdf

[3] CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/substance-use/index.htm

[4] [5] NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/inhalants

[6] We Level UpInhalant Abuse