How Long Do Inhalants Stay In Your System

While there are people who may be clueless as to what whippets are or how long do whippets stay in your system, the truth is the whippets' dangerous impact on one's health is a cause for national concern. At least 22.9 million Americans have abused inhalants once. And that number may rise if not taken seriously.

Transcend Recovery Community is here to take a closer look at what inhalants are and how inhaling pure nitrous oxide can impact your body and bring longer-term damage. Read on to find out more.

What are Inhalants?

Inhalants are substances inhaled to produce a high. These substances include a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in household or workplace products such as glue, paint thinner, lighter fluid, gasoline, and aerosol sprays. Inhalants can also include nitrous oxide (whippets,) commonly known as laughing gas, used commonly in medical and dental procedures.

When inhaled, this recreational drug is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream through the lungs and travels rapidly to the brain, producing a quick and intense high. The effects of inhalants can vary depending on the substance used, but they often include euphoric effects, dizziness, disorientation, and loss of inhibitions.

Inhalant abuse is a grave issue, particularly among young people who don't know the impending danger these substances pose. If you or someone you know is struggling with inhalant abuse, you should seek help from a healthcare professional, a mental health companion, or a substance abuse treatment program.

How Long Do Inhalants like Nitrous Oxide and Whippets Stay in Your System?

young guy exhaling smoke from a substance he inhaled

Similar to drug abuse, inhalants like pure nitrous oxide can also appear in drug tests. However, these inhalants affect different parts of our body differently, so detection may vary. Let's see how inhalants like nitrous oxide are detected throughout the body.

Inhalants in Urine

Urine drug tests are commonly used to detect the presence of various substances, including inhalants like nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is metabolized in the body relatively quickly, with a half-life of only a few minutes, meaning that it can be difficult to detect in urine for an extended period after use.

Inhalants in Hair

Hair drug testing is a detection method of the presence of various substances, including inhalants like nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide can mix into the hair shaft through the blood vessels that supply the hair follicle during drug use. As the hair grows, it carries a record of the substances in the body during that hair growth period.

It can provide a longer detection window than urine testing, with the ability to detect drug use for up to 90 days or even longer with the length of the hair sample collected.

Individualized Intensive Program (IIP) may be the key to helping those abusing inhalants get better from their situation.

Inhalants in Blood

Blood tests detect the presence of various substances, including inhalants like nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide can be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs when inhaled and found in the blood for a short period.

A blood sample is typically collected and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The laboratory will test the blood sample using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) that separates and identifies the different components of a blood sample to determine the presence and quantity of a particular substance.

Factors That Influence How Long Inhalants Stay in Your System

Several factors can influence how long inhalants stay in your system. These factors include:

  • Type of inhalant
  • Dose and duration of use
  • Age and metabolism
  • Body mass and composition
  • Method of use
  •  Hydration and urinary pH

People experiencing inhalant addiction must consult with medical and dental professionals to receive addiction treatment and avoid incurring more serious health problems. Sober living may also help those abusing whippets/inhaling whippets get better.

Signs of Inhalant Abuse and Overdose

Signs of inhalant abuse may include:

  • Chemical odors on breath, clothing, or in the immediate environment
  • Paint or other inhalant stains on clothing or face
  • Red or runny eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Slurred speech or difficulty speaking
  • Impaired coordination or motor skills
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness or seizures

Signs of inhalant overdose may include:

  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Delirium or hallucinations
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • Severe headache or dizziness
  • Muscle weakness or tremors
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Coma or loss of consciousness

Remember that inhaling nitrous oxide can cause serious damage to your central nervous system, such as your brain cells. Nitrous oxide inhalation along with other drugs can cause oxygen deficiency leading to a fatal overdose. Those involved in whippet abuse may benefit from inpatient or outpatient treatment to receive proper treatment and withdrawal from addictive drugs and other substances.

What Are the Side Effects of Inhalant Abuse?

Some serious and even potentially-deadly side effects of inhalant abuse include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Erratic blood pressure
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech or difficulty speaking
  • Impaired coordination or motor skills
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Memory loss or confusion
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Respiratory distress or lung damage
  • Heart failure or arrhythmias
  • Liver or kidney damage
  • Hearing loss or tinnitus
  • Vision problems or blindness
  • Permanent brain damage or neurological disorders.

Recovery homes are one of the best ways to help people with inhalant drug problems deal with such a dangerous drug. You'll find that most people who admit themselves in these homes get better through time and even completely recover from most inhalants such as whippet addiction.

What Are Inhalant Withdrawal Symptoms?

Inhalant withdrawal is physically and emotionally challenging. Professional medical and psychological support is necessary should a person decide to start with their withdrawal. 

 Some common inhalant withdrawal symptoms include:

  1. Headaches or migraines
  2. Dizziness or lightheadedness
  3. Nausea or vomiting
  4. Sweating or chills
  5. Tremors or shaking
  6. Muscle aches or pains
  7. Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  8. Fatigue or exhaustion
  9. Irritability or mood swings
  10. Anxiety or panic attacks
  11. Depression or feelings of sadness
  12. Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
  13. Cravings for inhalants
  14. Suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Can Transcend Assist those Struggling with Inhalant Abuse

Transcend Recovery Community is ready to help anyone with whippets, drugs, or any form of substance addiction. We offer specialized and holistic treatment through our partnership with various rehabilitation programs (such as group therapy) to aid in their speedy recovery and long-term sobriety.

You may find out more about what we do and how we can help you. Contact us today and our rehabilitation specialist can gladly assist you with your queries.

Transcend Recovery Community

Transcend Recovery Community family of sober living homes provides a safe place for those undergoing mental health and addiction treatment to live with like-minded peers. Our community-based approach to sober living (similarly to a halfway house) facilitates an open and welcoming environment, where members, staff and team can provide support and encouragement on the path to a sober and healthy life. Transcend's Los Angeles sober living homes are located in some of the most iconic areas of the city, filled with luxurious and upscale amenities, providing plenty to do for those in our transitional housing community.

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