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Updated 25 June 2013

Facts on laughing gas (nitrous oxide)

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is a simple gas that, when inhaled, causes rapid analgesia (pain relief), euphoria, mild sedation, and sometimes psychedelic dissociation.

Original article by Erowid.org

Dose
Nitrous is most frequently used in the form of whipped cream chargers, small metal cartridges which are "cracked" either into a whipped cream canister or with a special "cracker" into a balloon for inhalation. A single cartridge is between one and three lungs full of gas. One or two lung fulls is generally enough for a short nitrous experience although many people choose to use many cartridges throughout the course of a night.

Law
Nitrous oxide is controlled differerently around the world. A few countries control it as a pharmaceutical, while many allow its possession for food uses without any licensing.

Chemistry
Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is an extremely simple naturally occurring gas which is produced synthetically for sale.

History
Nitrous Oxide gas was first discovered by English scientist Joseph Priestley in 1772 and was first published about in 1776. In 1799 Humphry Davy gave Nitrous to visitors at the Pneumatic Institute and coined the term "laughing gas". Through his experiments he discovered Nitrous oxide's analgesic effects in 1800.

Terminology/slang
The Substance: Nitrous Oxide; Nitrous; Laughing Gas; Hippy Crack; N2O.
The Experience:No common terms known.

Onset
When inhaled, Nitrous generally reaches full effects within a few seconds.

Duration
Effects from a single inhalation of Nitrous Oxide last a few minutes. Most recreational Nitrous use consists of multiple inhalations over a period of time.

Problems
Although generaly considered quite safe when used medically and sparingly, it has some negative health consequences when used chronically. Heavy Nitrous use can lead to a depletion of vitamin B12. This can cause numbing of fine nerve endings, especially noticeable in the fingers and toes. Supplements of B12 may reduce the chances of this occurring in heavy users. Shots of B12 are given as a treatment for advanced depletion. If left untreated B12 deficiency can lead to long-term damage.

Addiction Potential
Nitrous has gained the nickname "hippy-crack" because it lends itself to repeated and compulsive use for some people. While uncommon, it is not unheard of to find individuals who use Nitrous many times a day, every day, generally among those with easy access to large quantities.

Erowid.org. Last modified April 2009.

Erowid caution and disclaimer

 
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