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Also known as Whippets, whip-its, or laughing gas, Nitrous Oxide is probably one of the most common substances people can get addicted to.  Because it’s relatively easy to procure as it’s available everywhere, many are not aware of the dangers this substance brings.

Here are 10 things you need to know about Whippit, including its fatal potentials:  

1. It goes by many names

Nitrous Oxide goes by many names.  To name a few:  Whippet, Whippit, Hippie Crack, Laughing gas, and balloon.  But Whippit is its most popular moniker.  Whippits are so-named because of its use:  “recharging” reusable whipped cream dispenser.  

2. It has been used medically (and recreationally) for a long time

In 1844, Professor Gardner Quincy Colton was the first to use Nitrous Oxide as an anaesthetic thanks to the discovery by Dr. Horace Wells in one of Professor Colton’s shows.  During the show, drugstore clerk Sam Cooley badly gashed his leg after running amok under the influence of a moderate amount of nitrous oxide.  Cooley reported no pain despite the injury.  

This gave Dr. Wells the idea that a higher amount might be able to render one insensitive to pain during surgeries and tooth extractions.  They soon tested this out by removing Dr. Well’s molar with the help of his partner, Dr. John Riggs.  With the success of the experiment, they soon administered nitrous oxide to 12 other patients in the next month.  

Later on, the use of nitrous oxide as anaesthetic for tooth extraction and surgery was adopted by the Colton Dental Association clinics in 1863.  

3. It’s used in other things, too!  

Question:  What does “Fast and the Furious” and dentistry have in common?  

Answer:  Nitrous Oxide. In street racing, many cars are equipped with nitrous oxide engines to give their rides a lot of boost when needed.  Nitrous oxide breaks down at a higher temperature, thus releasing more oxygen compared to air alone.  This results in a powerful combustion that propels the car even further, fast.  

4. When administered by a health professional, it’s safe. 

When used in a prescribed dose under surveillance by a health professional, Nitrous Oxide is technically safe according to Columbia University. It is often used as an anesthetic agent in dental, medical and veterinary operations.  

Inhaling Nitrous Oxide produces a sensation of relaxation and reduced sensitivity to pain.  

5. Noone takes Nitrous Oxide Seriously, but they are deadly when misused

When you think of “drug addiction”, Nitrous Oxide would probably be the last thing on your mind.  For starters, whippits aren’t exactly black market material, because you can buy them LEGALLY and for cheap.  Secondly, as they’re often associated with kids and younger teens, they’re not exactly the sexiest drug in the market.  

But while they’re considered benign compared to other drugs, their effects are no laughing matter (puns very much intended).  One of the most obvious dangers of whippit use is falling unconscious and hitting one’s head during the fall, or drowning in one’s own vomit (Although Nitrous Oxide causing vomiting is still subject to debate).  

Whippit can also cause loss of motor coordination and altered perception, limb spasms, depression of the heart muscles, and worst of all, death by the lack of oxygen going to the brain

6. Inhaling them straight from the canister is even deadlier

Inhaling straight from the canister in the hopes of getting high, fast, will cause your mouth and airways to freeze. This can lead to severe medical problems, or worse, death.  

7. Balloons are touted as the “safest” way to whippit

Balloons are the least risky way to consume Nitrous Oxide, according to this website.  

To use a balloon, simply blow some air into the balloon then hook it up to a nitrous oxide canister.  Once the balloon is filled with nitrous oxide, seal the opening.  Breathe some of the air inside the balloon and hold it in your lungs for a few seconds.  Exhale, then repeat until you get the desired high.  

Do note that nitrous oxide is still dangerous, no matter how it is administered without the help of a medical professional.  

8. It works differently than other drugs

Unlike most drugs that target your brain’s reward system, Nitrous Oxide works by depriving your brain of oxygen.  This causes a sensation of floating, dizziness and euphoria.  It can even make you laugh, thus, “laughing gas”.  

9. Vitamin B12 can treat some of its effects

Vitamin B12 is one of the treatments given to counter some of the side effects of whippit.  One of the side effects of Whippit misuse is Vitamin B12 deficiency, which in turn, can lead to other health problems such as memory problems and mood changes.  

When administered right away, Vitamin B12 can prevent and combat these side effects while your body recuperates from whippit misuse.  

10. They’re addictive, but treatable

It may not be as addictive as heroin and other popular and more dangerous substances.  But whippit addiction and overdose are not impossible.  As the effects are often short lived (about 30 to 60 seconds), you may find yourself wanting to relive the same high again and again.  And as whippits are accessible, it’s easier to get hooked on them.  

But just like any other addiction, they’re treatable.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction in Long Beach, don’t hesitate to seek help.  Rehab and detox facilities like Roots Through Recovery have programs that can help you combat whippit or inhalant addiction as well as any co occurring conditions.  Roots Through Recovery facility in Long Beach is easily accessible via South BayCatalina Island, and Orange County. Visit 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807 or call (866) 766-8776.