Nitrous oxide laughing gas

Nitrous oxide recreational

Nitrous is a drug and like any drug can be emotionally habit forming. While there is no physiological addition to nitrous, it can lend itself to compulsive use. This danger was known as early as the 1840s as seen in this handbill for a nitrous demonstration which reads: "Those who inhale the Gas once, are always anxious to inhale it the second time." Because of its short duration, nitrous lends itself to binging in an attempt to stay high or to recapture fleeting glimpses into otherness.

The other problem with the short duration of a nitrous trip (or perhaps just cheapness) is that people try to extend it by "recapturing" or reusing the nitrous. This is done by exhaling into someone else's mouth, or by exhaling into a bag or balloon for reinhalation. Reuse reduces the available oxygen while increasing carbon dioxide and makes hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) more likely. Deaths involving nitrous oxide are very rare, but almost always involve putting a bag over the head or opening a tank in a sealed space such as a car.

It should be pointed out that in the dentist's office one never receives 100% nitrous. Instead you breath a mix of nitrous and oxygen - generally 70% N2O to 30% oxygen. This is equivalent to the amount of oxygen in room air - but the nitrogen has been replaced by nitrous oxide.

Nitrous does not kill brain cells, but lack of oxygen does.

The primary physiological dangers of nitrous inhalation are:

There is also evidence of long term risks for dentists and others who receive a continuous low level exposure.

Oxygen Deprivation

"Occasionally, certain anesthetic agents become misused drugs. Nitrous oxide is an example. A gas of low anesthetic potency, it is incapable of inducing deep levels of anesthesia if an adequate oxygen concentration is maintained. Nitrous oxide induces a state of behavioral disinhibition, analgesia, and euphoria. One of the problems occasionally encountered when nitrous oxide is used for recreational purposes is that, unless the compound is administered with at least 20 percent oxygen, hypoxia (decreased oxygen content of the blood) can be induced. But in order to achieve high enough concentrations of nitrous oxide to get a good behavioral effect, concentrations of 50 percent or greater must be inhaled. If such concentrations are mixed with room air, inhaled oxygen concentrations drop to low levels and the hypoxia may result in irreversible brain damage."

Robert M. Julien
Read electro-mechanical engineering blog
Nitrous oxide production and consumption in serially diluted soil suspensions as related to in situ N"2O emission in submerged soils [An article from: Soil Biology and Biochemistry]
Book (Elsevier)
Nitrous oxide production by nitrification and denitrification in soil aggregates as affected by O"2 concentration [An article from: Soil Biology and Biochemistry]
Book (Elsevier)
Post-harvest patterns of carbon dioxide production, methane uptake and nitrous oxide production in a Pinus radiata D. Don plantation [An article from: Forest Ecology and Management]
Book (Elsevier)
Laboratory investigations into the effects of the pesticides mancozeb, chlorothalonil, and prosulfuron on nitrous oxide and nitric oxide production in ... article from: Soil Biology and Biochemistry]
Book (Elsevier)
Long-term effect of conventional and No-Tillage production systems on nitrous oxide fluxes from corn (Zea mays L.) field in southwestern ... American Journal of Environmental Sciences
Book (Science Publications)
Related Posts