What are Whippets?: Nitrous Oxide Drug

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Whippets are the steel cartridges inside whipped cream canisters that are filled with nitrous oxide.

If you’re wondering, “Is nitrous oxide a drug” or “what are whippets drugs”, today’s guide addresses these issues and shows why whippets abuse can be damaging and potentially deadly.

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What are whippets, then?

What is the Whippets Drug?

Whippets belong to a class of drugs known as inhalants. This category of substances is used by inhaling the contents.

Common inhalants include aerosol sprays, solvents, nitrites, and gasses. 

Inhalants are easy to purchase and can be found in almost any home. Some items in this classification of drugs include: 

  • Spray paints
  • Markers
  • Glues
  • Cleaning fluids

Whippets are categorized as recreational drugs because they are inhaled into the mouth to promote a euphoric high. 

The mechanism of action differs from that of most other drugs, though. The majority of addictive substances cause a high by overwhelming the pleasure system in your brain. When inhaling whippets, by contrast, the brain is starved of oxygen, creating a physical reaction of light-headedness and a sensation of floating.

The high experience when using whippets is delivered by these effects. When used by medical professionals and dentists, nitrous oxide is considered safe. Nitrous oxide is commonly administered during oral surgery to sedate patients. Nitrous oxide is also used in the automotive industry to boost the performance of car engines. Additionally, nitrous oxide serves as a propellant in whipped cream canisters.

An image of a man who is looking down, wondering: what re the effects of whippets?

Effects of Whippets

When used as intended, whether to make dental surgery less painful, to enhance a car’s engine or to bring delight to every kid who gets a mouthful of whipped cream, nitrous oxide doesn’t pose any danger. Unfortunately, people have found a way to misuse nitrous oxide, and whippets are the most easily accessible way to do this. 

Some people inhale the nitrous oxide from the whipped cream canister directly in an effort to get a quick high, while others use tools to open the canister and release the nitrous oxide in order to inhale it in greater quantity. One of the most popular ways to use whippets is to use a tool to release the nitrous oxide into a balloon before inhaling the substance contained inside it. 

Some adverse effects of whippets abuse include: 

  • Confusion
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Sweating
  • Sedation

What Does Nitrous Oxide Do for Your Brain?

Using whippets is certainly not safe or advisable.  

Brain damage is a common side effect of whippets abuse. Ongoing nitrous oxide abuse may bring about to depression, memory loss, and psychosis. 


One of the first risks comes before the nitrous oxide even enters your body. Nitrous oxide exits the canister at very high pressure. Many people have sustained injuries when releasing the nitrous oxide – some have died as a result. 

Another risk occurs before inhaling. Releasing nitrous oxide causes the canister to get cold. This sudden change in temperature can freeze your fingers and lips. 

Nitrous oxide abuse can cause poor circulatory function by depleting vitamin B12 levels in the body.

Over time, this can prompt health complications, including: 

  • Muscle spasms
  • Dysfunction in reproductive system
  • Paralysis
  • Ringing ears
  • Compromised immune system

An insufficiency of B12 also causes a dangerous condition called sub-acute combined

degeneration of the spinal cord. 

Misuse of inhalants can trigger sudden sniffing death syndrome. When the concentrated chemicals of inhalants are huffed, this can create irregular heartbeats and a swift, unexpected death.  

When abusing whippets and inhalant drugs, it is possible to die in the following ways: 

  • Choking: Inhalants can cause people to choke on their vomit.
  • Coma: Consuming too much nitrous oxide can starve the brain of oxygen, leading to a shut down and coma.
  • Fatal injury: When high on whippets, you may make poor choices and suffer life-threatening injuries.
  • Seizures: Abusing inhalants can lead to abnormal brain activity, convulsions, and seizure.
  • Suffocation: Huffing whippets from balloons or bags can cause you to suffocate yourself, potentially with deadly consequences.
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Addiction Treatment at California Detox

If you are addicted to alcohol, prescription medications, illicit drugs, or nitrous oxide whippets, we can help you connect with care at all levels of intensity at California Detox in Orange County

Our supervised medical detox programs offer you the safest and most comfortable pathway to ongoing addiction treatment. Medications streamline the intensity of withdrawal symptoms

and cravings. 24/7 clinical and emotional care will minimize the chances of complications during drug or alcohol withdrawal. 

Choose from the following addiction treatment programs: Suggestion: 

Take advantage of a personalized treatment plan that may include: 

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapies

You will leave our luxury Laguna Beach treatment facility with an aftercare plan that maximizes the likelihood of sustained recovery after rehab. Call 949.694.8305 today and kickstart your recovery tomorrow.


Yes, whippets are classified as inhalants. Nitrous oxide drug is inhaled to deliver a euphoric high.
Yes, nitrous oxide abuse can potentially trigger sudden death. Nitrous oxide can cause respiratory depression when inhaled in high concentrations. This leads to a lack of oxygen in the body and can be life-threatening. Additionally, nitrous oxide can cause sudden heart failure, especially in those with pre-existing heart conditions.


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