Poppers in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide

March 23, 2023
Jordan R.
Julius Care Team 🏳️‍🌈 🏳️‍⚧️

If you're looking for the ultimate guide on poppers in Canada, you've come to the right place. We'll cover the effects, risks, and legal status of poppers in Canada, and give you some tips on staying safe. Whether you're a seasoned popper or popping your popper cherry, we've got you covered.

What are Poppers?

To start off, what are poppers exactly? Essentially, poppers are a type of liquid that people inhale to experience a short-lived high. They're usually sold in small bottles and are known for their distinctive, pungent smell. They're also known by other names such as amyl nitrate, butyl nitrite, and liquid gold. Poppers have been around for decades, and they're quite popular with the LGBTQ+ community and club culture. How popular? It’s estimated that around 30% of gay men in Canada use poppers!

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The Different Types of Poppers

There are several types of poppers available, each with its own unique composition and effects. Amyl nitrite is perhaps the most well-known type, and it's typically sold in small brown bottles. Butyl nitrite is another common type, and it's often sold in clear bottles. Isobutyl nitrite is a newer type of popper that's gained popularity in recent years. Other types of poppers include pentyl nitrite, cyclohexyl nitrite, and propyl nitrite. Each type of popper can produce different effects, so it's important to know what you're using and how it may affect you.

Effects of Poppers

While the recreational use of poppers is often associated with party culture, believe it or not these substances have also been used for medical purposes. Poppers have been used to treat angina and other heart conditions by relaxing blood vessels, which increases blood flow and reduces chest pain.

However, most people take poppers for different reasons. Poppers are inhaled through the nose and produce a quick and intense high that typically lasts for a few minutes. The effects of poppers can vary from person to person, but common effects include a warm, tingly sensation throughout the body, increased heart rate, and a sense of lightheadedness or dizziness. Some users also report feeling a rush of blood to the head and a brief loss of inhibitions.

Poppers can also enhance sexual experiences by increasing sexual desire and sensations. Some users also report feeling a sense of euphoria, increased confidence, and a general feeling of relaxation when using poppers recreationally. Because they relax the sphincter (the muscle in your bum), poppers can also make it easier to bottom.

Risks of Poppers

Poppers aren’t all sunshine and fun, they can also be associated with various risks and side effects.

Research has shown that poppers may increase the risk of HIV transmission, due to several reasons:

  1. Poppers can lower inhibitions, increasing the odds of unprotected sex
  2. Poppers can increase the risk of anal bleeding, since they expand blood vessels in the area
  3. Poppers might weaken the immune system for a short time, making you more vulnerable to infection

If you’d like to protect yourself against HIV, consider looking into PrEP. PrEP is a once daily pill that helps prevent HIV infection by up to 99%. If you’re in Canada, check out our PrEP FAQ, or start our Free Online Assessment to see if PrEP could be right for you.

Long-term use of poppers can cause damage to vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and brain. Furthermore, poppers can be dangerous if combined with other drugs or alcohol, which can result in serious health complications, including death.

Poppers can also cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and breathing difficulties. It's important to use poppers with caution and to never exceed the recommended dosage. If you experience any negative effects from poppers, it's crucial to seek medical attention immediately.

Are Poppers Legal in Canada?

Poppers have been banned for sale in Canada since 2013. Buying, possession and use of poppers remains legal, but their sale for human consumption is not.

However, as we know, prohibition doesn’t really work, and research has shown that popper use hasn’t decreased since they’ve been banned.

One way sellers typically get around the ban on the sale of poppers is by marketing them as household cleaners or deodorizers, and the labels usually state that they are not for human consumption.

However, it's important to note that the Canadian government has classified some of the chemicals used in poppers as controlled substances. This means that importing, exporting, or trafficking poppers in Canada could result in legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

How to Buy Poppers in Canada

If you still want to get your hands on some poppers, check out our guides on getting poppers in your area:

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