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What Are Whippets? Side-Effects & Withdrawal Symptoms Of This Dangerous Drug

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Whipped cream seems so innocent. It goes on pies, lattes, cakes, and even right out of the can if you’re feeling silly. While the frothy whipped treat itself is virtually harmless aside from some sugar and dairy, there is a component of the product that is actually a commonly abused drug in some circles. 

The gas that fluffs that cream up before topping your dessert can be abused by people looking to get high. It may seem fun at the moment, but abusing whippets can have serious and even potentially fatal ramifications.

What Are Whippets Drugs?

Whippets are the name of a small charger that contains the gaseous compound nitrous oxide. These are also sometimes known as whip-its, whippits, hippie crack, bulbs, nangs, or nangers. They are small silver cylinders that have gas inside that must first be opened or “cracked” with a “cracker” like whipped cream cannisters. Some people even resort to inhaling pure nitrous oxide from nitrous oxide tanks.

How Long do Whippets Stay in your System?

Whippets typically stay in your system for up to 3 days, although the amount of time depends on how much of the drug you took and your metabolism. If you are a frequent user, whippets can stay in your system for up to 5 days or longer. 

Generally speaking, whippet metabolites can be detected in urine for up to 48 hours and in blood tests for up to 24 hours. It is also important to remember that whippets can appear on hair follicle tests for up to 90 days after use.

How Bad are Whippets?

The gas is then used to fill balloons, which are then passed to people who inhale the gas from them to get high. Sometimes the users will even inhale the gas directly from the cracker without a balloon, which can be even more dangerous than simply using the drug because the cold gas can cause tissue damage and even suffocation and death. 

The “laughing gas” in the whippets is used as a recreational drug and often abused for its intense euphoria. Some people inhale it straight from whipped cream dispensers. People abuse nitrous oxide because they don’t think it can have serious consequences and don’t consider it drug abuse.

Dangers Associated With Whippets

Whippets are a type of inhalant drug that is a mix of nitrous oxide and alcohol. There are many dangers associated with whippets. 

One of them is the fact that there is no control over the purity of nitrous oxide in whippets, which means that it can be lethal at any time if you have too much or too little or if it is contaminated with other substances like butane.

The other danger associated with whippets is that they can cause long-term cognitive impairment and brain damage because they impair your ability to think clearly and make decisions by disrupting

The gas inside whippets is nitrous oxide. Which is not only a dangerous inhalant but also a dissociative anesthetic that can give the users a strong “high” feeling that is incredibly short-lived. It can affect health in negative ways through both inhalations and skin and eye contact with liquid or concentrated gas.

Are Whippets Dangerous?

Although they may sound harmless, whippets can be dangerous if not used responsibly. The most common side effect of inhaling whippets is dizziness and light-headedness. Inhaling too much can lead to hallucinations, paranoia, slurred speech, and difficulty breathing. 

It is also possible to suffer anoxia (insufficient oxygen) or hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) which can lead to unconsciousness or even death. 

Long Term Use of Whippets

Long-term use of whippets can cause cognitive damage, including memory problems and impaired motor function. Whippets can also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, resulting in depression, anxiety, muscle cramps, joint pain, and numbness. Finally, whippets can cause a slowed heart rate or irregular heart rhythms if used regularly or in high doses.

Where Do People Get Whippets?

Whippets can often be found in stores that sell whipped cream, although it is important to note that it is illegal to buy or possess nitrous oxide for recreational use. Spray paints are another popular source of nitrous oxide, although the most common source is balloons filled with nitrous oxide that are passed around at parties and other gatherings. Some people even inhale pure nitrous oxide from tanks or containers obtained illegally. 

It is also possible for whippets to be found online, although it is important to exercise caution when buying any drug online.  Whippets should never be used as a recreational drug, and their dangers should not be underestimated.

Side-Effects of Whippets

The side effects that result from abusing whippets can range from mild to severe, and even being deadly in some circumstances. Nitrous oxide is relatively odorless, as well as colorless, and it is used in professional and legitimate capacities as an anesthetic since it can block out pain as well as act as a strong sedative for some outpatient medical treatments, such as dental work. Since it has legitimate medical uses, it has always been targeted for abuse by people looking to “catch a buzz” “get high” or “zonked” as some would put it.

Nitrous oxide, or whippets, will initially create a very strong feeling of euphoria, but it can also inflict some very significant damage. Some of the more dangerous side effects of being addicted to whippet are feelings of intermittent or constant dizziness, greatly impaired motor functions, hallucinations, and significant cognitive reductions, including brain damage in some situations. 

It can also cause damage to the heart muscle, in addition to overall organ damage. Psychiatric symptoms that may be precursors to significant mental illness. Damage to the peripheral nerve cells that can result in weakness of the limbs or numbness in extremities. 

This same damage can also occur to the spinal cord itself, sometimes resulting in forms of paralysis.

Even though most people who use whippets are aware of the dangerous and even potentially deadly side effects of abusing the drug, they continue to use it because of the dependency and addiction that has grown during the period of use.

If you have ever heard of “huffing”, abusing whippets is essentially huffing except with nitrous instead of some other aerosol propellants. 

Those who abuse whippets, even new users who may be taking their first hit, can be killed easily by asphyxiation since the gas can fill the lungs entirely, forcing out any oxygen that is critically needed by the body to function. 

Oxygen deprivation can eventually cause problems like seizures and even coma. Whippets are also known for causing intensely dangerous and severe neurological conditions. 

Whippets Abuse

Both medical and dental professionals have used nitrous oxide for many years to sedate patients before minor surgeries or painful procedures. This gas is also used in cooking and helps to give whipped cream that light, fluffy texture.

However, nitrous oxide inhalation leads to whippet abuse and can lead to impaired brain function. Nitrous oxide misuse can also lead to long-term health issues, including organ damage, limb numbness, and paralysis. Inhaling nitrous oxide can also lead to a shortage of oxygen supply in the body, eventually leading to death.

Whippet abuse is a serious issue that can have long-term health consequences. Abuse refers to using whippets more frequently or in higher doses than intended, resulting in an impaired state and difficulty functioning normally throughout the day. 

This will not only lead to health problems but can also cause financial and relationship issues. If you or someone you know is struggling with whippet abuse, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), both of which can be effective in helping individuals achieve long-term recovery.

Whippet Withdrawal

The different things categorized as substance abuse has grown in recent years as people find more ways to get high. Detox and withdrawal from common inhalants can have serious health impacts. The actual chemical dependency that occurs can be relatively low, but psychological dependence can be incredibly strong in those who are addicted to inhalants.

This means that when they suddenly stop using the whippets they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. 

The withdrawal symptoms that are experienced will depend heavily on the individual going through recovery, and how acclimated their body was to the whippets. 

Because of the effects that whippets have on the central nervous system and pain receptors, the user’s body begins to grow used to the drug doing the work for it, so when the drug use is suddenly stopped, the body’s functions have a sort of rebound and become suddenly overactive. 

This can create incredibly uncomfortable symptoms of nausea, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, and restlessness. Additional symptoms can include tremors, uncontrollable sweating, elevated heart rate, and blood pressure, intense cravings, hallucinations, psychosis, depression, dizziness, memory loss, inability to concentrate or maintain focus, and outbursts of anger.

The entire detox and withdrawal process will begin within two days after the last use of whippets. The symptoms will ramp up over the next couple of days, then peak, with the worst parts of the process out of the way in about a week. The post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last for another 1-2 years. Some psychological symptoms may remain and require counseling to work through. 

How to Treat Whippets Addiction?

Whippets addiction is a very serious condition and should be taken seriously. Treatment for whippet addiction usually involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes or support.

Psychotherapy can help an addict identify the root causes of their addiction and work towards making positive changes in their life to prevent relapse. 

Medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers may be prescribed to help reduce cravings of other drugs and manage withdrawal symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as reducing stress factors in an addict’s life, avoiding places or activities associated with drug use, and engaging in healthy activities can also help the person stay on track. 

Additionally, support groups can provide a valuable source of social and emotional support for someone struggling with whippet addiction. Recovery is possible, and it is important to remember that the journey of recovery can be a long one but one worth taking.

Personalizing Treatment Plans

When discussing treatments, the most important thing to remember is that everyone is different, and each person’s addiction treatment plan should be tailored to their needs. As such, it may take time to find the most effective combination of treatments for a whippet addict. Each individual must be willing to put in the effort and take responsibility for his or her own recovery.

How to Get Help if Addicted to Whippets

Even though whippets are not as strong or as dangerous as many hard drugs, there is still so much damage that can happen to your mind and body. Frequent nitrous oxide abuse can lead to long-term health problems and even death. Whippets can be classified as inhalant abuse of nitrous oxide gas.

The good news is that you do not have to deal with and get through your addiction alone. Even if you do not have a lot of friends or family, there are treatment centers that can help you through your recovery.

With a plan of action, the help of experienced health and counseling professionals, and a support system, recovery is achievable. It is important to get treatment so you can find the root cause of your addiction and treat that, along with getting yourself clean and away from whippets.

Reach out today if you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to whippets. You deserve the chance to start over and live the life you’ve always dreamed about, free from the bondage of drugs and addiction.


Whippets, also known as aerosol propellants, contain compounds such as propane and butane that can be harmful when inhaled. These compounds can irritate the lungs and cause breathing problems. Additionally, whippets may contain other chemicals that could be toxic in high concentrations or if used improperly. If you choose to use whippets, it is important to be aware of the potential health risks and use them with caution. Inhalation of these substances can also lead to addiction or dependence.
Whippets typically come in the form of a metal canister. The cans are usually silver, red, or blue and have a nozzle at one end. They may also be labeled as "whipped cream chargers" or "nitrous oxide chargers." The cans contain small pellets of compressed gas which is released when the nozzle is depressed. When the gas is released, it creates a thick white cloud of vapor that looks like whipped cream. These canisters are often used for culinary purposes, such as making cream and other desserts.
The most important step in quitting whippets is to seek help from a medical professional. A doctor can help assess your health and provide advice on how to quit safely. Additionally, they can refer you to a rehabilitation center or other treatment options if needed. Quitting “cold turkey” is not recommended as it could lead to withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and headaches. If you are unable to quit on your own, there are certain medications that can help reduce cravings and aid in the quitting process. Additionally, support from family and friends is invaluable during this time.
It is difficult to know exactly how many brain cells are killed when using whippets. Studies have shown that using whippets can decrease oxygen flow to the brain, resulting in cognitive impairment and other neurological problems. Additionally, long-term use of whippets has been linked with an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
The time that whippets stay in your urine depends on several factors, such as your metabolism and how much you have used. Generally, whippets can be detected in a urine drug screen for up to 72 hours after the last use. However, this timeframe may vary depending on the individual.
t is impossible to predict how many whippets it would take to overdose as this can vary greatly from person to person. Overdosing on whippets can cause symptoms such as loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, and seizures. If you or someone you know has taken too much nitrous oxide, seek medical attention immediately.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside


Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson


Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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