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What causes the Poppers headache?

Posted on Poppers Guide's Forum

Topic created by Captain Coomer
on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 02:45

Captain Coomer said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 02:45...

What is actually causing the poppers headache. I picked up a bottle of English at my local store. Okay, long story short, I've bought this product before and had no problems. The past 2 times I have received the worst headache from poppers I've ever known. Starts at the right side of the back of my head going behind my ear or over my right ear and sits on the top of my temple. Feels exactly like a crack is forming in my skull. It did this before. Will never buy this product again or from this store. A normal poppers headache for me is just a bad headache. This seems more in line with one of those Cluster headaches that gets so painful you pass out. I have a very high tolerance for pain. If I get up and walk around for 30 minutes it gets better and Advil makes it go back to normal. What the heck is in this botle that makes me feel as if my skull is ripping open?????

The Dreadful Flying Glove said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 06:52...

"going behind my ear or over my right ear"

Sinus inflammation is my guess, the pain from that is nasty. Those salt water sprays and some herbal tonics work great to clean out the sinus. But if you have sensitivity there...you best avoid poppers. Anyway, with the Fall and the flu season approaching best to take care of your sinus....as you really want to avoid sinus pain, if you get it blocked and then infected....not good, bro.

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 16:32...

from our FAQ, posted here previously:

Poppers hangover; What is it?

Poppers hangover is a term related to poorly prepared product; it shouldn't happen, and it's dangerous to your health (not just inconvenient). Poppers should hit you with a freshness, keep you in the zone as long as you desire and then go away after about 20 minutes. If your poppers smell harsh, make you feel staggering drunk, weak, nauseous or faint, and especially if these side effects persist into hours or days, then they are unsafe. Most producers, world-wide, don't really care enough to make them properly (which costs them more money) because people continue to buy their product.

the known impurities (by order of highest concentration (e.g. isobutyl nitrite)):
isobutyl aldehyde
isobutyl alcohol
2-methyl propanoic acid
1,1 -diisobutoxy-isobutane
isobutyl acetate
formic acid
isobutyl nitrate
and about 5 others at lower concentrations

NONE of these impurities decrease as the nitrite evaporates/ages. Some of them are a product of poor manufacture, and some of them are a product of degradation, but ALL of them increase with time, unless specifically addressed by the manufacturer; and they won't bother as long as people continue to purchase their garbage product.

Poppers headache; why?

About 40% of people report headache, but that's due to intracranial pressure increases, NOT brain cells dying

Poppers nose burn; why?

it's a simple matter to neutralize an Alkyl Nitrite, but not all manufacturers bother to. The nitrite itself does NOT burn skin. It's a situation somewhat similar to making cold process soap, which is made using very corrosive Lye, which should not be in the end product.
For a 30ml bottle, add about 5ml distilled water and sprinkle in 5 grams of baking soda; shake until it stops fizzing, then use an eyedropper to skim the water off the bottom; the baking soda can be filtered out with toilet paper;

Poppers storage; how?

Alkyl nitrites are destroyed by exposure to light, heat, water and oxygen. The best way to store them is in a vacuum in a cool, dry, dark place. A refrigerator is much better than a household freezer (a commercial freezer would work well, but a typical household freezer's defrost cycle will slowly destroy the ester.

The white ball; what is it and why does it make bubbles?

Much depends on the nitrite itself. Those white balls are activated alumina pellets. They are intended to adsorb excess water. This helps slow down the nitrite's decomposition. AA will also adsorb some gasses. NO2 is a decomposition gas that is poisonous, and which smells very bad. That can certainly happen if the nitrite is severely degraded.

Another gas is Nitric oxide (NO). This is the active ingredient, and a very fresh, super-saturated popper will also effervesce when first opened (the first couple of times). Much like carbonated soda, an nitrosated alcohol (like a popper) will release this gas when it is extremely fresh and super-saturated. So, this can be evidence of a flat and degraded product, or a very fresh and potent product; how was the actual nitrite? That'll tell you more

Types of Alkyl nitrite; what's the difference?

ALL alkyl nitrites share a common active ingredient, Nitric Oxide (NO). The molecule in the link is Isoamyl nitrite, for example. The oxygen-nitrogen-oxygen atoms to the right (the red-blue-red balls) is Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), which on its own is a highly toxic gas. The entire molecule has a body (the carrier alcohol), a 'neck' (the first oxygen binding to the alcohol) and a 'head' the NO payload.
Nitric Oxide is the active part, but on its own it metabolizes in seconds, so little-to-no lasting effects, and reactions with environmental oxygen convert to Nitric acid, which corrodes human tissue.
What NO needs is a delivery vehicle, to get the NO into the bloodstream, where it can then do its thing (Endothelial NO (ENO) allows the human bloodstream to dilate in accommodation to blood flow just as pupils dilate in accommodation to light).
This delivery vehicle is the alcohol body and neck of the molecule; once in the bloodstream, the head goes to town, and the body and neck get pissed away.

The difference between the various nitrites is in their rate of delivery of NO. The actual alcohols are only going to be present in parts per million in your blood.

The nitrites with lower vapor pressures have a slower onset, lower high and longer duration, while the more volatile nitrites have a faster onset, higher high and shorter duration.

That is the fundamental difference between all alkyl nitrites, but production factors intervene to mess things up quite a bit.
For example, the lower nitrites tend to have the least 'bad' side effects; mostly because they tend to be more pure, and because they are easier to make. The higher nitrites tend to have more impurities and to deliver NO at faster rates; impurities compound because making them more pure requires more effort than most producers put into the endeavor.
Most producers don't put enough effort into it because it's not a very well regulated situation, and they can get away with practically poisoning you. At most, vendors of noxious nitrites will send a replacement bottle or two if a customer complains a bit, but there isn't enough motivation to actually make a good product in the first place, unfortunately.

Laws vary by country on what's legal to own and what's legal to sell. I'm not going to address that because it changes often enough to obsolete anything I write down about it; check your local/country specific laws.
Labelling is also horribly incomplete and/or false. E.g. when Butyl nitrite (the original non-prescription alcohol used by Freezer and Wheeler when they developed Rush and Lockerroom) was first outlawed in the US, labelling changed to Isobutyl nitrite, but the actual product typically continued to contain Butyl nitrite.
So, you don't really know what's in the bottle, and you don't really know what the best alcohol is for you; what can you do about it?

Strength; what is the strongest or best formula?

The best formula is the one that is most compatible with your metabolism. Molecular weight is a general guideline, but the isomers will also vary in vapor pressure. Least reactive to most reactive:
n- amyl (Pentyl)-------(any of the Amyl's are comparatively weak and irritate the throat more than others)
Isoamyl (Isopentyl)
n-Butyl-------------------(the Butyl's are the sweet spot for duration and elation)
n-propyl-----------------(anything higher has potential for macular degeneration due to poor manufacture)

Again, the most reactive might not be most suitable, depending on your physiology. The lower nitrites last longer, but the high is lower, while the higher nitrites go much higher for less time. That's part of the trade off. Amyl is the easiest to produce with less contaminants, due to its lesser reactivity, so side effects are more rare (unless you are huffing highly degraded stuff air shipped from overseas) Amyl is a bit of a teaser, for me, in that it doesn't quite get there. The higher nitrites are a bit more difficult to produce stabilize and preserve well, but extremely worth it, IMO.
Alkyl Nitrite information
Alkyl nitrites
"The inhalable nitrites may be the nearest thing to a true aphrodisiac."
Thomas P. Lowry, M.D.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs; Jan-Jun, 1982; Vol. 14(2): 77-79 T.P. Lowry, M.D., Chief, Department of Psychiatry, Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Center, 975 Sereno Drive, Vallejo, CA 94590
The inhalable nitrites may be the nearest thing to a true aphrodisiac. Approximately 250 million recreational doses are consumed yearly in the United States. Six aspects of these remarkable substances will be considered: chemistry, availability, mode of action, social uses, toxicology and legal trends.
The volatile nitrites are yellowish flammable liquids with an odor variously described as fruity or like old gym socks. They are unstable and decompose when exposed to light, heat, water and oxygen. There are many available forms: amyl nitrite (and isomers), a prescription item use

Nitritespecialist said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 17:23...

OMG....the Professor just repeated everything I've been saying for years almost verbatim....it stated TWICE that amyl nitrite is easier to make and is less to contain impurities that worsen side effects.

He also stated that butyl nitrite is harder to make and thus more likely to contain impurities that make it a more toxic trip. I've been saying this for years and he's repeatedly attacked me for it.

What he fails to tell everyone is that unless he can prove he's indeed made a 98% pure butyl nitrite, then he hasn't proven he's perfected a method that consistently works to eliminate those highly dreaded toxic impurities. He won't post his lab alleged lab analysis of his poppers, including their dates.

It's safe to assume his butyl poppers are just as inconsistent as the rest.

Nitritespecialist said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 17:24...

"less likely to contain impurities that worsen side effects"

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 17:30...

You are confusing the words popchef used (as in likely to degrade more quickly) with the outcome you reached (that anything above amyl is toxic).

I'[m not going to argue the semantics of popchef's explanation over mine, but I will explain to ANYONE that I agree with his assessments, that AMYL is easier to make and builds decomp products more slowly, while Butyl, being more reactive, has more molecules above the degradation activation energy.


that doesn't disagree with what popchef said at all.

That's a consistent theme here,

I say it's POSSIBLE with a bit of care, and you claim it only leads to madness and poison.

Nitritespecialist said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 17:30...

The professor also attacked me for stating that if a popper stings or burns the skin, it's a sign of an acid impurity. And here he's stating the same thing I did. Seems like he just attacks me for the sake of it because I have knowledge that his home made poppers suck.

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 17:47...

the circle of confusion that you are trying to suck everyone into is not working; you can go blue in the face and use all caps, claim you were right all along, etc, but ANYONE can read for THEMSELVES the truth,

I called you out for mentioning "having to wash the NITRIC acid out of the yield" to make it smell better; I didn't say that acids won't be in the nitrite; of course they will (as will soap be contaminated with corrosive LYE (Lye being a saponification reactant) if it is not neutralized before purchase.

That's a stretch to conflate NITRIC acid as a possible component (it isn't) with HCL acid (still dissolved in the yield, and a product of preparation)

2+2 doesn't = 5 ken

just google
site: http://poppersguide.com/forum/ The Professor

you'll see him back-pedal, get cornered, start ANOTHER topic with more personal insults, get cornered again, and repeat.

That's ALL he's got, and it's exhausting to reply to each and every one of his fantasies.

I've done that in the past (debunked him line item by line item); it doesn't phase him, i don't expect it to change HIS behavior, so I suggest searching for oneself instead (i have better things to do and am busy right now trying be have a vacation)

Nitritespecialist said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 17:52...

None of that changes the fact that the turbid toxic concoction you made was far WORSE than anything I had made.

Nitritespecialist said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 17:53...

Oh yes....one of your many failures that you guard closely. You attack me because you don't want others to know.

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 18:26...

You said that to popchef on reddit, in case your current fever dream is still raging and you've forgotten.

I'm hiding NOTHING;

POPchef was involved in a nitrite cook off, in which his contribution was a nitrite that experienced turbidity due to dusting of the MS (a known attribute). At the time, ken was complaining that molecular sieve did NOTHING for his product. His latest idea was his imagined need to use excess reactant to force an imagined equilibrium.

Now, the alkyl nitrite prep DOESN't reach a mythical equilibrium , with unreacted alcohol FORCING the reaction to the yield. popchef tried it, as it MIGHT be a valid use of le chatelier's principle, but it didn't stabilize the nitrite at all; it only changed the odor to more raw butanol.

If ken is talking to anybody else, even himself; he'd rather have an excess of butanol in the pot than the noxious aroma of decomposition.

If he's talking about popchef's work, it is a nasty, repugnant and nauseating odor

hypocracy at work

Nitritespecialist said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 18:45...

Well...well the two personalities can't remember the lies the other one told.

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 19:06...

Identify the specific 'lies' you are talking about

TheMaster said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 20:41...

This made me laugh literally out loud:

MrSPC: Well...well the two personalities can't remember the lies the other one told.

TheProf: Identify the specific 'lies' you are talking about

The Prof doesn't even challenge that notion that it is one in the same person and instead asks for the specific lies. Ha! Guilty as charged - Dissociative Identity Disorder. Even Charlie Chuckles is him. How much of an ego does one have, that he has to impersonate his own sycophant. Time for the padded room for sure.

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 20:59...

The agreed upon way to deal with a boisterous, disruptive person that challenges everything one says and issues FALSE allegation is to call them out on the fact; ask them for REAL specifics about wtf they are talking about.

It usually doesn't get an answer from the deceitful liar, but it DOES illustrate to others how deceitful and manipulative the offender is.

That's ALL I'm doing here; the time for line item rebuttals is over; just getting you to TALK about the issue reveals your true nature.

NOT the honest and humble homeboy that's 'got your back, and is only worried about OTHERS, but the raging, deceitful, manipulative liar that only cares about HIMSELF.

at this point you are destructing YOURSELF. trying to somehow get a rise out of me is not going to succeed; it only reveals who you really are.....

If you MUST, the post conflates USP amyl (a prescription drug) with recreational Amyl a 'leather cleaner available without prescription.

The two products are ENTIRELY different, yet you claim that they are PROOF that goldencock is lying.

worthless propaganda and baiting

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 21:23...

I missed the part where you attack me (ad hominem again) for somehow having a conversation with myself;

THAT technique was implemented by ARTISANAL CLEANERS when they were caught pretending to be a DIY maker on the Poppermakers website; it was HILARIOUS how they even engaged in DEBATE with themselves, through two different screen names.

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 21:29...

TDFG makes a good point (amid the nonsense from ken) about sinus infections.

nasal congestion and extreme sinus pain can happen, and yes it sucks (I have a tumor in my sinus from chi8ldhood chronic sinus infections; not fun.

congested nose indicates the nitrite wasn't neutralized properly, leaving the liquid with acid from the preparation (HCL or Sulfuric, NOT NITRIC as ken claims) dissolved in the nitrite,

It's easy to neutralize excess reactant, and instructions have been posated here and are in the wiki. The problem is that many manufacturers DON't bother to do this, because it kills the yield (and their profit) and they'd rather call a nasty product 'super' or 'extreme' as if the nasty aroma was a sign of potency.

Charlie Chuckles said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 23:12...

"Even Charlie Chuckles is him."

Um, no, sorry, I am just a dummy novice and while I obviously can't vouch for my identity, I think my naivete speaks for itself. The Professor has been exceedingly gracious in helping me (and others from what I see), and has saved me countless hours upon hours. Before he started answering my questions here, I was trying to amalgamate disparate information sprinkled around the web, trying to make sense of different opinions. I was spending all my nights trying to make sense of this information, with few facts to back up assertions that are out there. I am deeply grateful that the Professor is wiling to stick around here and help those that are interested in learning and contributing.

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 23:25...

I'll be here Charles, Illegitimi non carborundum (slang Latin: some let the bastards wear you down)

The Professor said on Mon, 20 Sep 2021 at 23:49...

don't let the bastards wear you down

Captain Coomer said on Tue, 21 Sep 2021 at 01:02...

Holy shit!!! Ringside seat. "Let's get ready to RUMBLEEEEEE!!!!!!!"

Yeah, intracranial pressure increase, that's what I feel on the right side of my head with Rush and English from a certain Houston Adult Video Store. Won't pay for them again. Janra is their supply chain so going to avoid.

Well, I'm no chemist so understood nothing of what was said above. I did for the hell of it take an eye dropper and empty a small amount of filtered water into a 15ml botttle followed by half teaspoon of baking soda. The baking soda clumped at the very bottom of the bottle. I emptied it into a shot glass. I then poured it into a handheld coffee filter and let it flow back into the poppers bottle. I had to wash the bottle out first because the baking soda stayed at the bottom like a rock or crystal. I washed it out then you know the rest.

I took a hit and no headache but I need at least 15-20 minutes to see if that's actually made a difference.

Captain Coomer said on Tue, 21 Sep 2021 at 01:12...

If I understood, the filtered water and baking soda give the nitrites a bath then you dry it off by filtering it back into the poppers bottle. It does smell less harsh but then that could just be a mind over matter thing with me.

The Professor said on Tue, 21 Sep 2021 at 01:55...


Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate
Acid is hydrochloric (for example)

Acid plus base equals a salt plus water

HCL + NAHCO3 = NaCl (table salt) + water (+ carbon dioxide (CO2) which should cause bubbles to spot from the bottle)

When you add a bit of baking soda and water to the popper, it neutralizes acid (that smell bad and cause nose burn, congestion, airway disturbances, etc)

Hopefully, the overall experience will be more positive for you.

Captain Coomer said on Tue, 21 Sep 2021 at 02:30...

Great! Thanks! Well should I just leave the Baking Soda and tiny amount of water in the bottle? I mean filtering it causes me to lose half the poppers from a new 15ml bottle so seems like a waste if I could just leave baking soda and tiny amount of the filtered water that would be better. Thoughts??

The Professor said on Tue, 21 Sep 2021 at 14:48...

Baking soda won't destroy the popper, but water will. More slowly than acid, but I don't recommend leaving any water in the bottle.

Poppers aren't water soluble, at the very least, it shouldn't be too much fuss to put the whole shebang in a clear bottle; you'll see the two layers, nitrite on the top, water on the bottom. The bottom layer can be sucked out with an eye dropper.

An eye dropper won't remove as much water as activated alumina or molecular sieve, but it's free and easy.

If you don't like the result, and there shouldn't be much nitrite loss, it was at least worth a try

Vegasvalley27 said on Wed, 22 Sep 2021 at 01:18...

Poppers are heavily Nitrate based from what I understand. Nitrates when they enter the body dilate the blood vessels, drastically decreasing blood pressure, and reduce oxygen demand by the heart.

Which is exactly why one of the most useful medications for someone experiencing a myocardial infarction or heart attack is nitroglycerin. Being nitrogen based like poppers, it dilates blood vessels and helps increase blood flow, while also decreasing heart rate. Alleviating angina or chest pain.

< not a doctor. Just a nurse.

Captain Coomer said on Sat, 25 Sep 2021 at 01:17...

I tried the little experiment. It helped a little. Not worth the hassle to be honest. I just stopped buying Rush and English from one certain store and no more soul crushing headaches. Janra in California was there supplier so won't be doing business with them for poppers. I guess it happens. Too much crap out there now. Maybe always was but seems far worse these days.

Captain Coomer said on Sat, 25 Sep 2021 at 03:13...

Can you post a link where to get molecular sieves and correct size/amount? Those are the little balls correct?

The Professor said on Sun, 26 Sep 2021 at 20:41...

If you buy 10lbs of sieve for $50, it will likely come in a plastic jug, and will need to be activated

If you buy 500 grams for $120, it will likely come in a vacuum sealed glass bottle, and will be pre-activated.

IF you have a glass blowing furnace lying around, the cheaper, bulk stuff might be worth it (If you are making hundreds of gallons of nitrite)

The company I used to buy them from is no longer in business; they used to sell pre3-activated MS 1t $80 for 1000 grams.

The closest I'm finding now is cole parmer, $115 for 500 grams. 4 teaspoons will treat 120 ml.


There's a chemical supplier called loudwolf that sells MS4a in small bottles on Amazon. They claim it is activated; might be worth a try

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