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Key Information



Nitrous Oxide

 What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a Volatile Substance which is a gas at room temperature. It belongs to a group of drugs which kills pain.  Nitrous Oxide has many legitmate uses but some people misuse it because when inhaled it can make people feel euphoric and relaxed. This happy feeling has led to it being nicknamed ‘laughing gas’. Some people have also experienced hallucinations.  However, like other Volatile Substances found in glue or Aerosols, it can cause death even on first time use. This is due to suffocation from a loss of the Oxygen available to you.  Nitrous Oxide can sometimes be sold to recreational users in balloons.    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 some Aerosal cans like whipped cream and in food packaging.


Dinitrogen Oxide


Whippits, Laughing Gas, Hippie Crack, Chargers


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.

Nitrous Oxide is small inorganic chemical molecule and may also be known as Dinitrogen Oxide or Dinitrogen Monoxide. It is a colourless and nonflammable gas with a slightly sweet odour.  Common Nitrous Oxide recreational abuse occurs when large amounts are inhaled rapidly. Abusers acquire large amounts of food additive Aerosol cans and empty their contents while trying to keep the cartridges intact. Cartridges are then punctured and inhaled through the nose. Other methods of Nitrous Oxide abuse include filling up balloons with it. The balloons are then rapidly deflated into the user''''s mouth. Hence, nitrous oxide abuse is often referred to as "whippets", "ballooning", or "cartridges".

HEALTH RISKS (long term) which includes withdrawal & tolerance:

Inhaling Nitrous Oxide can cause an immediate headache. It can also 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.  It can be hard to judge the amount to use safely – just enough to get a high but not so much to 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 to difficulties with walking, and to pains in the affected areas.  Nitrous Oxide is addicitve because part of the way that it causes Anesthesia is by binding to Opioid Receptors in the Brain, just like Heroin.


Nitrous Oxide is not illegal, but this doesn’t mean that it is safe to use.

  1. Nitrous Oxide is a type of Anesthetic, a substance used to deaden pain. It can alleviate pain without causing a loss of consciousness.
  2. Best known by the nickname "Laughing Gas," Nitrous Oxide is used primarily by dentists to keep patients comfortable during painful procedures.
  3. When administered by trained medical professionals, the gas is considered a safe and effective form of Anesthesia.
  4. As a recreational drug drug used solely to get high, not to treat a medical condition.  Nitrous Oxide is classified as an inhalant.  Inhalants contain dangerous Vapors, which are gases or fumes that can be irritating or physically harmful when breathed in.  Vapors from Inhalants produce psychoactive, or mind-altering, effects when breathed in through the mouth or nose.
  5. Among young teens, Nitrous Oxide is typically obtained from canned whipped cream available at grocery stores. Nitrous Oxide gas is used to propel, or to drive out, the whipped cream from the can. Sales of Nitrous Oxide to older teens and adults usually occur at dance clubs and all-night dance parties called or through Internet transactions.
  6. Nitrous Oxide is a compound made from nitrogen and oxygen. Its chemical formula is N2o   The gas itself is clear and colourless, with a slightly sweet odour and taste.
  7. Nitrous Oxide should not be confused with the potentially toxic gas known as Nitric Oxide (NO). Nitric Oxide is found in the atmosphere as an air pollutant. It is also found in very small amounts in the human body, where it helps to move oxygen to the tissues and transmit nerve impulses.
  8. Nitrous Oxide abuse became a hot topic in 2004, when recreational use of the gas showed up in a kids' film. In a one-minute-long scene from the movie Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, one of the main characters, Shaggy, sniffs Nitrous Oxide from a whipped cream can and jokes about it.
  9. Nitrous Oxide alters the user's perception of time. Because the effects of a single "hit" last only three minutes or so, some abusers inhale the gas many times over the course of a few hours. Such attempts to maintain a Nitrous high can be fatal.  In addition, the possibility of brain damage increases when the brain does not receive sufficient amounts of Oxygen.
  10. Nitrous Oxide is a gas that has been safely used as a mild anesthetic in combination with Oxygen for over a century.
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