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An Inside Look into The Effects of Whippits

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You have probably heard of whippits, an inhalant drug popular with teens at parties. Dentists and doctors initially used this drug to numb pain.

People now use whippits to create euphoria and reduce physical and mental pain. However, what many young users think is harmless fun causes long-term effects from overuse.

Since inhaling the drug tampers with the oxygen supply, over-inhalation could cause suffocation, send one into a comma, or even death. There are several short-term and long-term effects of using whippits.

Short-term Effects Of Using Whippits

Young people use whippits, or “hippy crack”, as they call it, as a quick high. It acts as an anesthetic that causes euphoria and hallucinations within just seconds or minutes.

However, because it displaces oxygen, common short-term side effects include dizziness, confusion, nausea, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and sometimes brief loss of consciousness. High doses cause some more acute severe effects as well:

  • Suffocation risk: Prolonged nitrous oxide use can diminish oxygen levels in the body, possibly causing hypoxia (lack of oxygen). This is dangerous, especially if using the drug in an enclosed space.
  • B12 deficiency: Nitrous oxide interferes with vitamin B12 absorption, which is important for nerve function and DNA synthesis. Acute deficiencies may cause numbness and tingling. 
  • Falls/accidents: Whippits intoxication messes with the brain and often causes impaired judgment and coordination. This increases the risks of accidental falls, burns, vehicle accidents, and other potential injuries during use.
  • Neurotoxic effects: Extremely high, continued whippits doses have the potential for neurological damage due to B12 depletion and direct toxicity. Whippits users suffer numbness, muscle weakness, and damage to the spinal cord.

Long-Term Effects

Because whippits are not illegal, accessing them is easy for young people. Consequently, they are also among the drugs that young people abuse the most. And some celebrities have died from abusing whippits. The drug may leave the body relatively quickly after use, but regular abuse carries risks of more permanent health complications later.

  • Permanent B12 deficiency: Chronic, heavy use of whippits has the potential to permanently deplete B12 from the body after years of nitrous intake. This may lead to ongoing neurological problems, even once use has ceased.
  • Spinal cord injury: Extended B12 depletion results in a rare condition of degeneration of the spinal cord. It causes crippling neurological damage similar to paralysis.
  • Bone marrow suppression: Constant whippits inhalation may suppress bone marrow and negatively impact blood cell production over the long term. This could potentially increase infection risks.
  • Lung issues: Prolonged exposure to compressed gases in whipped cream cans may raise risks of developing barotrauma injuries to delicate lung tissues over many years.
  • Congenital disabilities: Nitrous oxide easily crosses the placenta and exposes developing fetuses to risks. Using whippits when one is pregnant increases the chances of congenital disabilities and affects development in newborns.
  • Memory loss: Prolonged abuse leads to cognitive decline and depressed neural activity.

Bottom Line

While whippits may temporarily achieve an intoxicating state, regular recreational abuse introduces severe risks to health. As with any psychoactive substance, people must understand the risks and prioritize reducing them. If you or a loved one is struggling with whippit inhalant abuse, seek treatment from an addiction treatment center today.

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