Are Whippets Federally Legal?

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Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a substance that has been used both medically and recreationally due to its euphoric effects. However, the legality of nitrous oxide varies from state to state and country to country. Here is an updated overview of the legal status of nitrous oxide, focusing on its recreational use.


Nitrous oxide, also known as “nangs,” “hippy crack,” “whippets,” or “whippits,” is a colorless gas that can induce a state of euphoria, relaxation, and hallucination when inhaled. It was first recorded in the 18th century and was initially popular among medical students. By the late 20th century, the legal restrictions on acquiring nitrous oxide were relaxed in some countries, making it a moderately popular recreational drug.

Legal Status in the United States:

In the United States, possession of nitrous oxide is legal and is not under the jurisdiction of the DEA. However, it is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The sale for recreational inhalation is prohibited, and it is illegal to sell it to minors. Some states have specific regulations and restrictions on the possession, sale, and use of nitrous oxide. For instance, in California, it is illegal to sell nitrous oxide to anyone suspected of using it for recreational purposes.

International Legal Status:

Internationally, the legality of nitrous oxide varies. In the United Kingdom, supplying nitrous oxide for recreational inhalation is illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. However, possession in the UK is not illegal unless it is intended for human consumption. Other countries have their regulations and restrictions, with some allowing possession and others prohibiting it altogether.

Health Implications and Risks:

Nitrous oxide is a neurotoxin, and excessive use can lead to long-term neurological damage. Inhaling nitrous oxide can cause dizziness, dissociation, and temporary loss of motor control, making it unsafe to inhale directly from the canister. Industrial-grade nitrous oxide is particularly dangerous as it contains many impurities unfit for human consumption.

Responsible Usage:

While nitrous oxide can be used legally for medical and culinary purposes, it is crucial to use it responsibly and be aware of the legal restrictions in your area. Misuse and illegal distribution of nitrous oxide can lead to severe legal repercussions and health risks.


The legality of nitrous oxide is a complex issue, with different states and countries imposing varying levels of restrictions. It is essential to be informed about the legal status of nitrous oxide in your area and to use it responsibly, considering the potential health risks and legal implications involved.


  1. Psychoactive Substances Act 2016
  2. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

This updated article provides a more comprehensive and accurate overview of the legal status of nitrous oxide, considering the information acquired from the Wikipedia page on the recreational use of nitrous oxide.

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