NITROUS OXIDE

Whippits, Laughing Gas, Hippie Crack, Chargers.

September 6, 2016

THE DRUG

Overview

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a gas with several legitimate uses, but when inhaled it can make people feel euphoric and relaxed. This happy feeling has led to it being nicknamed ‘laughing gas’. Some people also experience hallucinations.

However, there is a risk of death as a lack of oxygen can occur when using nitrous oxide. This risk is likely to be greater if the gas is consumed in an enclosed space or if a substantial amount is rapidly used.

There are three main legitimate uses of nitrous oxide:

  • To numb pain during medical procedures such as dental work.
  • In engines to increase their power output.
  • In catering, in whipped cream aerosol cans to prevent the cream going ‘bad’ and in food packaging to prevent the food from rotting

NO

Appearance

Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas. Some people say that it has a slightly sweet smell and taste.

It is normally bought in pressured canisters, varying in size and depending on what it will be used for. The gas is commonly transferred to a container, e.g. a balloon, from which the gas is inhaled.

How

Use

Nitrous oxide is most commonly inhaled through the mouth. Because nitrous oxide is a pressurised gas in the canister, there is a risk of harming yourself if you inhale nitrous oxide straight from the canister. This method can lead to sudden death due to a lack of oxygen and is one reason why nitrous oxide is sold to people in balloons.

Side Effects

THE EFFECTS

What are the effects of nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a depressant-type drug, which means it slows down your brain and your body’s responses.

The effects of nitrous oxide vary depending on how much has been inhaled but they include:

  • Feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness.
  • Dizziness, difficulty in thinking straight and fits of giggles/laughter.
  • Sound distortions or even hallucinations.
  • In some people, a headache can be an unwanted immediate effect.

Risk4

THE RISKS

What are the risks of nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide can cause dizziness or affect your judgement, which might make you act carelessly or dangerously and put you at risk of hurting yourself, particularly in an unsafe environment.

Other risks include:

  • Unconsciousness or death from lack of oxygen. This occurs when the available oxygen for breathing is effectively pushed out by the nitrous oxide. The risk is greater if the gas is consumed in an enclosed space or if a plastic bag is used that covers both nose and mouth.
  • Heavy regular use of nitrous oxide can lead to deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anaemia. The severe B12 deficiency can lead to serious nerve damage in some cases, which causes tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes and other extremities, and even difficulties with walking and pains in affected areas. Regular use may also depress formation of white blood cells.
  • It can be hard to judge the amount to use safely. If you have too much you can end up fainting, having an accident or much worse.
  • Severe vitamin B deficiency can develop with heavy, regular use of nitrous oxide. This can cause serious nerve damage, which leads to tingling and numbness in the fingers, toes and other extremities, and even difficulties with walking and tpains in the affected areas.

Nitrous oxide and alcohol

Mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol is especially dangerous as it can increase the risks associated with both substances and can lead to an increased risk of accidents or death.

Sulphur dioxide, a poisonous gas, is added to the nitrous oxide used in engines to discourage people from using it to get ‘high’.

Impurities

Sulphur dioxide, a poisonous gas, is added to the nitrous oxide used in engines to discourage people from using it to get ‘high’.

Getting Hooked

Can you get addicted to nitrous oxide?

It may be possible to become psychologically dependent on nitrous oxide, meaning that users develop an increased desire to keep using it despite any harms, but the evidence on this is limited. In anecdotal reports, some people have reported developing cravings or feelings that they want to continue using nitrous oxide.Court3

THE LAW

Is nitrous oxide illegal?

Although nitrous oxide has been legal in the past, since the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect on 26 May 2016, it is now illegal to supply or import nitrous oxide for human consumption.

Did you know?

Like drinking and driving, it’s illegal to drive if your driving has been impaired by taking drugs. With some drugs, you can even remain unfit to drive the next day. As well as this drug-impaired-driving offence, it’s now illegal in England and Wales to drive over set levels for any of 17 named drugs (legal and illegal) in your body, whether or not you are impaired. Very low limits have been set for some common illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and MDMA. You can get a heavy fine, be disqualified from driving or even go to prison.

Check out the Think! website for more details.

 

This article was taken from frank

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