Poppers are a popular drug used recreationally today for their relaxing and arousing properties and they’ve been used for decades recreationally. A look into the medical history of poppers and how they came about is an interesting way to understand the drug a bit more and why so many variations of it exist today.
Amyl Nitrite first came into being in 1844 where it was used for entirely different purposes than poppers are today. The substance was synthesized by Antoine Jerome Balard. It wasn’t until later that Sir Thomas Lauder Brunton actually figured out a medical use for the substance, determining that it could be used to treat angina pectoris, a serious heart condition. While the drug itself wasn’t capable of curing the condition, Brunton realized that it could be used to lesson the symptoms of the condition by dilating the coronary arteries and improving blood flow through the heart itself.
It took many decades for poppers to go from a medical drug to something more recreational. Today poppers are sold for a variety of purposes, but people all around the world buy them to use for inhalation to enjoy the muscle-relaxing properties that they offer.
A Full Century of Medical Use
After scientists and medical professionals realized how amyl nitrite affects the human body, they began using it for medical purposes, mostly to treat heart conditions or low blood pressure. That use went on for a full century until 1959. In 1960 poppers were approved by the FDA and made into an over-the-counter drug that people could go out and purchase as needed. Just a year after this relaxation of requirements recreational use by people all over the country prompted the organization to make poppers only available by prescription once again.
The Start of Recreational Use
Even before the 1960’s people were beginning to use poppers recreationally, but it wasn’t until 1960 when the FDA made the drug available as an over-the-counter substance that many people got a chance to try them and figure out what all the recreational benefits are of the drug. This prompted many people to start using poppers regularly and helped form a recreational market for the drug around the country. Once the FDA restricted poppers more heavily in 1961, people already had a taste and wanted more. Drug companies began looking for ways around the law and in 1969 a new formulation of poppers made from isobutyl nitrate was released to the market to help meet the needs of popper users around the country.
Poppers and the Disco and Rave Scenes
Poppers became highly popular during the Disco scene of the 70’s and 80’s and resurged in popularity in the 1990’s during the rave scene. They’re still used recreationally today, but not as much as they once were. Drug companies continue to manufacturer different variations of poppers to sell to the public under different names and with different chemical compositions, but amyl nitrite poppers are the original and still one of the favorite formulations.