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What are Whippets?

Inhalants are a group of substances that can be inhaled to experience a mind-altering effect. When abused, these substances can cause effects like dizziness, increased heart rate, excitement, and slurred speech. Unfortunately, abusing these drugs can lead to a wide array of adverse effects, including asphyxiation, seizures, and even coma.[1]

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 2.2 million people reported abusing inhalants in 2021.[2]

There are many different types of inhalant drugs but the most commonly abused one is referred to as whippets. “Whippets” is a slang term for nitrous oxide. While this substance is used medicinally in dentists’ offices to reduce pain and anxiety, people misusing it are buying a form intended to be used for whipped cream canisters.

What are Whippets?

Whippets contain nitrous oxide, a substance that has two very different uses. First, it is used in dentists’ offices instead of sedation, making patients feel calm and experience less pain. On the other hand, you can find nitrous oxide sold in stores and intended to be used to fill whipped cream canisters.

Because of how often they are abused, adult stores keep them stocked on the shelves. People often buy large boxes of them at once, which puts them at risk of taking too many whippets and experiencing fatal side effects.

Additionally, the effects of whippets are short-lived, which may cause people to abuse them repeatedly in a short period. This can lead to adverse effects such as fainting spells, cold burns from aerosol cans, and a lack of oxygen supply to the brain.

Side Effects of Whippet Abuse

Whippets or nitrous oxide can cause feelings of euphoria, excitement, dizziness, and drowsiness. While some people find these effects pleasurable, they can also cause adverse effects. Some people pass out after inhaling whippets, which can lead to injuries and accidents.

The common side effects of whippet abuse include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Fits of laughter
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Losing consciousness

How are Whippets Used and What are the Risks?

Whippets are inhalants, which means people get high off of them by inhaling the fumes. Sometimes people use a whipped cream cracker, attach the whippet canister, and inhale directly from that device. Other people might fill up empty balloons with the fumes from whippets and then inhale it from there.

Inhaling any type of drug is dangerous, especially whippets. Inhaling whippets can lead to:[1]

  • Asphyxiation – repeatedly inhaling whippets can cause high concentrations of fumes, displacing oxygen in your lungs
  • Suffocation – inhaling fumes can block air from entering your lungs
  • Convulsions or seizures – whippets can cause an abnormal amount of electrical discharges in your brain
  • Choking – whippets can lead to vomiting, causing you to choke
  • Coma – inhaling whippets can cause your brain to shut down most of its vital functions
  • Fatal injury – whippet intoxication can make you more prone to fatal injuries like motor vehicle accidents

Whippet abuse can quickly lead to addiction, which must be treated with the help of a drug rehab program.

Signs Your Loved One is Abusing Whippets

If you are worried that your loved one is abusing whippets, there are some signs you can look out for. Being aware of what whippet abuse looks like can help you get your loved one into professional treatment sooner rather than later.

The signs of whippet abuse include:

  • Finding empty whipped cream cans or dispensers
  • Empty balloons lying around their room or car
  • Slurred speech or appearing drunk without consuming alcohol
  • Mood swings, lethargy, and anxiety
  • Lack of coordination such as slowed reflexes, losing balance, or difficulty standing and sitting up straight
  • Sores around the mouth caused by the cold canisters burning the skin
  • Chronic headaches
  • Changes in behavior such as social isolation
  • Changes in social circles
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits

It is important to note that many people who abuse whippets combine them with other substances. If you notice that your loved one is also abusing substances like alcohol, hallucinogens, or other types of inhalants, they could be combining them with whippets. Unfortunately, mixing whippets with other drugs increases your loved one’s likelihood of experiencing fatal effects, such as life-threatening overdoses.

Finding Help for Nitrous Oxide Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one regularly abuses whippets, you could be addicted to nitrous oxide. Drug rehab programs like Mandala Healing Center can offer you the tools and support you need to achieve long-term sobriety from whippets and other substances.

At Mandala Healing Center, we pride ourselves on offering each client compassionate care, evidence-based treatment services, and long-term support. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs, contact us today.


  1. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What are the other medical consequences of inhalant abuse, Retrieved January 2024 From
  2. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of inhalant use in the United States, Retrieved January 2024 From