Whip-It is America's recreational inhalant of choice
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According to suit filed in Sacramento, where a man is suing his local head shop, Whip-It is America's "most popular recreational inhalant of choice". The suit alleges that long-term Whip-It abuse led to spinal degeneration and chronic neuropathy. From an article at the Sacramento Bee:
Jason Starn had just returned home from a local head shop in Modesto after buying more nitrous oxide "laughing gas" canisters when "my brain kind of froze."
Starn later told his lawyer he had lost all feeling from the rib cage down. His wife took him to a hospital, where doctors kept him two weeks and determined he had suffered a degeneration of his spinal cord related to his abuse of nitrous oxide, his lawyer said. The numbness lasted months, according to the lawyer, and Starn still needs a walker to get around...
Barron [Starn's Lawyer] said Starn bought the Whip-Its, took them home and "liked the effects." She said he used them fairly steadily over the next two months, leading up to his episode.
"It's a well-known fact," Barron said, that nitrous oxide depletes vitamin B-12 from the blood, which can lead to spinal cord problems. She said an MRI determined Starn suffered a seizure that put him in need of the walker.
Starn's lawsuit suggests employees at the three stores are disingenuous in saying they don't know people buy Whip-It to get high. It claims Whip-It is America's "most popular recreational inhalant of choice," with more than 12 million people having used the product to obtain a nitrous oxide high. Their popularity, the suit says, is a byproduct of their accessibility in head shops.
The case argues that the head shop has a responsibility to warn customers about the adverse effects of chronic nitrous oxide abuse if they are going to sell Whip-Its. I'm not sure it is a "well-known fact" that chronic nitrous abuse causes spinal cord or nerve damage, but the suit does get one thing right. Whip-It is the nation's recreational inhalant of choice. Can't argue with that.