Whip-its: A Beginner’s Guide

(Disclosure: Though this article is sufficiently researched, I am not a doctor or even a medical student. Abuse of any substance as well as using products against the recommendation of the manufacturer always carries a risk.  I am in no way encouraging the use of whip-its. Instead, his is meant to be a guide for those who wish to indulge in the practice and want to do so safely.)

Last night I was introduced to whip-its for the first time. I’m not sure how I have gone so long without being exposed to this phenomenon, as I’ve never shied away from recreational drug use, but I think it’s because I have never had much belief in over-the-counter substances. It was always my experience that for purposes of achieving a fun high or any sense of euphoria, anything that could be purchased over-the-counter was always more hassle then it was worth. Why chug two bottles of cough syrup or stick a bottle of glue up my nose, if I could just pop a pill or take a couple shots and achieve a better outcome with much less of a hassle, and even less health risks for that matter; nevertheless having to feel like an absolute degenerate. Maybe it’s just me, but I would have to be in a pretty low place to be looking to bottles of mouth wash and Robitussin to get my fix. For those that share that view, and for the uninitiated as a whole, I’m here to tell you that the whip-it is in a class of its own in the realm of over-the-counter highs, as well as give you everything you need to know in order to make your first whip-it experience one that is equally safe and fun.

If done correctly, they are not only convenient and relatively safe, but, these little canisters of delight pack enough punch to float the inhaler on a euphoric cloud in the sky, even if only for a matter of 30 wonderful seconds.

Anytime you have your heart set on trying something that is potentially detrimental to your health, or any new experience for that matter, it’s usually not recommended to look to Google for every possible negative side-effect or consequence, because, no matter what you’re looking up, chances are you’re going to stir up some shit you probably would have preferred never knowing. If taken to heart every time, this tactic could have you locking yourself in your basement after transforming it into a bunker/storehouse/zombie-apocalypse stronghold. This practice is even less-recommended when one is a chronic hypochondriac, who is fighting back the creeping anxiety that is coming on from having already ingested the very substance one is looking up. It is even further discouraged when the substance in question is one that society has a very real interest in making you deathly afraid of. This my friends is exactly where I found myself last night after taking down my first ever whip-it. Because I care about you readers, and now, the art of the whip-it, and because I believe you should always enter any new experience equipped with all the right knowledge, I’m going to break this whole process down for you so you don’t find yourself in the same situation as I did.


Tip #1 Know what you are putting in your body and how it will effect you!

Unlike how I handled things last night, this is an inquiry that should be done before ingesting any new or foreign substance. I know some of you veterans know exactly how much of every narcotic/plant/fungus/ to ingest in order to achieve the desired effect and avoid harm, but for all others, do some damn research please.

            1.1 How does it make you feel? 

Knowing how you are going to feel from taking any substance is just as important as knowing the risks and side-effects that come with ingesting it. Prior to taking my first whip-it, my only exposure to the practice was watching my friend rapidly inhale and exhale two whip-it balloons (explained below) with a euphoric smile from ear-to-ear. It seemed like fun, and relatively harmless, so I loaded myself one up and sucked it down. Within seconds I fell to my knees, sure I was going to die.

So many rookie mistakes were made here, but the most important was not knowing what I was getting into. Let me just say here that though those little bastards pack a bigger punch then you first expect, under no circumstance will be harmed doing a single whip-it balloon, unless you’re dumb enough to attempt it while driving or standing on an elevated structure. Had I known this, I would not have freaked out as I did. After inhaling your whip-it, you will be hit with an immediate blast of euphoria. Light-headedness and heavy, tingling limbs will have you feeling like Cupid resting on a fluffy cloud for about 30 seconds. It is absolutely imperative that you just relax and take it in, and hopefully this article will allow you to do so. When someone inhales nitrous oxide, the gas rapidly dissolves into the bloodstream, and hits the brain within seconds. Effects vary between people and are rarely quite the same twice, but a rush of dizziness and euphoria is normal, and people often burst out laughing. Sound is oddly distorted, voices and music often turning into a throbbing roar like a helicopter.

Hallucinations are possible, from simple moving bright dots to complete detailed dreamscapes, although most users do not experience complex hallucinations. The gas is an anaesthetic, so coordination and awareness are strongly affected and users may fall over if they are not sitting or lying down. The experience ends almost as swiftly as it began, with the peak lasting just seconds and the user back to normal within about 2 minutes. Nitrous oxide also reduces anxiety and pain. The sensation will be over very soon, so if you enjoy it, soak it in, and if you hate, just relax and ride it out.

          1.2 What exactly are you inhaling and what is it doing to you? 

As I quickly regained my composure from my first ever whip-it, (to the sound of my friend laughing hysterically at the dumbfounded look on my face), I immediately began my anxiety driven Google search to learn more about the mischievous demon I had just sucked into my lungs. The initial results of my search were not encouraging. Something about actress Demi Moore being hospitalized due to seizure-like symptoms brought on by doing what must have been an absurd amount of whip-its, followed by this obnoxiously written article from the Duke Chronical  that may as well of been a D.A.R.E PSA. Luckily, I made it to the comments section before deciding that I should call poison control, and learned that I was being duped. I promise you that what you find below is all that you need to know about the effects of ingesting N2O. The primary source for all this knowledge can be found here.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide (N20) is an anaesthetic gas with pain-relieving properties. It has been used recreationally and in medicine for over 200 years. It has become widely and easily available for recreational use as it can be legally sold for the purpose of making whipped cream.

How does nitrous oxide work as a drug in the body and brain?

Nitrous oxide is a ‘dissociative’ drug, meaning the user might feel as though they are becoming apart from the situation they were in, or even from their own body. Nitrous oxide has a range of effects on the brain which are not fully understood, but its dissociative effects are probably caused by preventing the normal action of the NMDA receptor.

What are the risks of using nitrous oxide? Can they be avoided or reduced?

If the user of nitrous oxide is in good health, understands the risks, and avoids dangerous methods, nitrous oxide is one of the least risky drugs. However, people have died from oxygen starvation when using unsafe methods to try to breathe large amounts of nitrous oxide for extended periods of time. Inhaling nitrous oxide in a dangerous way will not cause any warning symptoms until the user suddenly becomes unconscious. Then brain damage, followed by death, can occur within minutes. Long story short, do not put yourself in a situation where notorious oxide is ever-present to be breathed in, for example by filling a room, car, or bag over your head with the gas. It’s unnecessary and just flat out dumb. If you want a bigger hit then double up on balloons, as there is very little to no harm in whipping with balloons. You will be physically unable to put the balloon to your mouth before reaching any state of harm. But really, you shouldn’t even take it that far in the first place! Don’t be stupid! 

Mixing nitrous oxide with other drugs?

In summary, there are no extreme examples in which you should not mix, but it is still not recommend, especially when mixed with stimulants that affect the heart rate such as cocaine.

Tip #2 Be well-equipped!

If you have your heart set on experiencing the whip-it, under no circumstance should you use a standard whip cream bottle like the douche in the picture above. That picture was merely chosen for dramatic effect. Not only does that method carry with it all of the stigmas associated with other over-the-counter highs in that it is highly inefficient and expensive with a poor result. Most importantly though, you just don’t want to be that guy, or girl for that matter, sucking desperately at the teat of an elongated vessel that if, manipulated correctly, will result in the ejection of a white milky substance on your mouth and face, as you’re friends look on second guessing whether to go next. It’s just not worth the damage to your self-worth and image.

Do us all a favor and save the whip cream for it’s intended purpose, impromptu edible bikinis, and get your ass to a baking good store to pick up a box or two of oz NO2 canisters and a dispenser or hand held “cracker.”


Tip #3 The best and safest way to whip-it

Using a balloon, with caution, is the least risky way to use nitrous oxide. Here the gas is dispensed into a balloon from which a user inhales and exhales repeatedly until they have had enough or the gas runs out. If the user overdoes it and oxygen levels in the body drop to the degree where they are close to passing out, they will be unable to hold the balloon to their lips and will automatically breathe air again. This safety mechanism minimises the risk of death by suffocation, but will not prevent a user overdoing it enough to suffer a headache or other unpleasant effects. Paying attention to any discomfort and not resisting the urge to breathe will minimise the chances of harm of any kind.

Choosing the right setting

The risks of hurting yourself if you fall or lose co-ordination and awareness when taking nitrous oxide can be minimised by sitting down away from hard edges and other hazards.

Never try to fill a space with the gas

If someone has got hold of a large canister of nitrous oxide they should never attempt to fill a room, car, bag over someone’s head, or any enclosed space with the gas. This can lead to fatal oxygen starvation. It is much safer to use a balloon.

Good luck kids, and be safe!