Most times, things that are legal and easily accessible are the most abused. Take whipped cream, for example; it is very harmless and delicious when used as a topping for your favorite Frappuccino or to garnish your grandma’s pumpkin pie at Christmas dinner. But what many do not know is that this supposedly harmless dessert ingredient has an eerie dark side. It contains a substance that, if abused, can make the person experience a relaxing feeling of euphoria and disassociation. This is known as the whippets drug.
In this article, we will tell you what the whippets drug is and the side effects of using it.
What is the Whippets Drug?
Contrary to popular belief, whippets (also known as whippit, whip its, nossies, or nitro) is not a new drug. All these names are slung for nitrous oxide (laughing gas), a gas found in whipped cream cans. When inhaled, the gas can cause an instant high or a temporary feeling of euphoria.
Medically dentistry and general medical practitioners have used nitrous oxide for centuries to treat pain because of its ability to help relax both the body and the mind. Dr.Horace Wells was the first person to use the gas as a pain reliever in 1844. But if inhaled in large quantities, nitrous oxide has many adverse side effects on the body.
But what is a ‘whippit’? This word is derived from the gas and the method of inhaling it. There are many ways to inhale the gas. But the most common is to puncture the whipped cream can and put your mouth directly on the can to capture the escaping nitrous oxide.
Some people also use a balloon to capture the gas before inhaling it – a balloon warms nitrous oxide. In more extreme cases, addicts acquire nitrous oxide tanks and use different methods to inhale the gas.
They go as far as inhaling it from enclosed rooms or with a bag over their heads. Nitrous gas also has legally packaged packets meant for medical use only, which are not easily accessible.
Why Whippets Are So Popular – The Cool New Drug
First of all, nothing is illegal about whipped creams, is there? Therefore, whippets are readily available and easy to access for anyone looking to find them. Another reason why whippets are so popular is that they are odorless and leave no obvious trace after use.
This is why teens and young adults can easily abuse this drug for recreational purposes and go unnoticed. Research shows that in the United States alone, about 4.7% of people between the ages of 12 and 17 have used this drug at some point in their life. This number may seem small, but it translates to millions of teenagers.
The Very Dark Side of Whippets
Experts believe that whippets work the brain entirely differently. Drugs like cocaine or opiates give a high through a brain’s reward system, which activates the release of chemicals like dopamine. On the other hand, nitrous oxide completely cuts off the oxygen supply to the brain and takes control of all brain activities.
As a result, when someone inhales nitrous oxide, they may lose all sensation on their limbs and start laughing happily and uncontrollably. This effect lasts for only a minute or two. However, although this may be safe in a controlled medical environment, regular recreational use has a vast mirage of health risks.
Prolonged use of nitrous oxide deprives the brain of oxygen and can potentially increase the level of carbon dioxide, leading to permanent brain damage, central nervous system damage, severe organ damage, etc. These symptoms can appear immediately in extreme cases.
However, the most common short term symptoms of nitrous oxide abuse are:
- Light-headedness, dizzy spells
- Recurring seizures
- Memory loss
- Balance issues
- Blurred vision
- Fatigue or sedation
- Sound distortion
The short-term symptoms may fade once the nitrous oxide fades from the body and the brain resumes receiving oxygen. But the reason why this drug is abused is that the euphoric feeling is so short-lived, and people tend to do it continuously at a time. This is what results in severe long-term effects.
The first ‘puff’ may be fine, but the risk of brain damage, heart damage, loss of lung function, and other nervous system damage increases with every ‘puff’ after that.
In addition, experts believe that nitrous oxide interferes with the body’s natural intake and processing of vitamin B12. This vitamin is necessary for general brain function, and if it is insufficient, it can lead to severe brain distortion.
The Bottom Line
Those two minutes after inhaling whippets can easily give you much more joy than you have ever experienced before. But at what cost? Although doctors use this drug for pain relief, it is only safe under a controlled, secure environment.
Using nitrous oxide for recreational purposes can easily lead to severe brain, organ, nervous system damage or even sudden death. With all the risks associated with just a few minutes of euphoric feeling, it is just not worth it.