Nitrous oxide synthesis
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a dissociative drug that, when inhaled, can cause analgesia, euphoria, dizziness, flanging of sound, and slight hallucinations.
Medical or dental uses
In the 1800s, nitrous oxide was used by dentists and surgeons for its mild analgesic properties. Today, nitrous oxide is used in dental procedures to provide inhalation sedation and reduce patient anxiety. In small doses in a medical or dental setting, nitrous oxide is very safe, because the nitrous oxide is mixed with a sufficient amount of oxygen using a regulator valve. However, extended, heavy use of inhaled nitrous oxide has been associated with Olney's Lesions.
Since the earliest uses of nitrous oxide for medical or dental purposes, it has also been used recreationally, because it causes euphoria, slight hallucinations and, in some cases, potential aphrodisiac effects. Only a small number of recreational users (such as dental office workers or medical gas technicians) have legal access to pure nitrous oxide canisters that are intended for medical or dental use. Most recreational users obtain nitrous oxide from compressed gas containers which use nitrous oxide as a propellant for whipped cream, from small canisters of nitrous oxide which are intended for use with whipped cream dispensers, or from automotive nitrous systems. Automotive nitrous available to the public has trace amounts of sulfuric compounds added to prevent recreational use. The sulfur additives only impart an unpleasant taste and odor to the gas, without diminishing the effects of the gas in any manner.
Users typically inflate a balloon or plastic bag with nitrous oxide and inhale the gas for its effects. While inhaling nitrous oxide, users face the risk of injury or death from anoxia. Nitrous oxide gas inhaled directly from a metal canister or tank, or by the use of a homemade mask over their mouth directly connected to a canister or tank, presents significantly more dangerous effects.
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