In the United Kingdom, as of 2014[update], nitrous oxide is estimated to be used by almost half a million young people at nightspots, festivals and parties. Tylenol, for example, is an analgesic. The best-known uses of nitrous oxide are as a medical anesthetic and analgesic. ", Learn how and when to remove these template messages, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "When people partied with nitrous oxide, it sparked a medical breakthrough", "Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, Part VI – Inhalants and Solvents and Glue-Sniffing", "Nitrous oxide inhalation among adolescents: prevalence, correlates, and co-occurrence with volatile solvent inhalation", "Drug-related deaths involving nitrous oxide, 1993 to 2016", "Family files lawsuit in death of fraternity pledge at Ohio University", "Minister seeks report on use of laughing gas following death of a teenager", "Nitrous Oxide – A colourless gas that people inhale, usually via a balloon",, "Wetsvoorstel lachgasverbod maakt einde aan lachgas in gasflessen voor consumenten - Nieuwsbericht -", "Zo'n 90 gemeenten lopen vooruit op verbod op lachgas, nemen zelf maatregelen", National Pollutant Inventory – Oxides of nitrogen fact sheet,, Articles that may contain original research from November 2015, All articles that may contain original research, Articles needing additional references from June 2016, All articles needing additional references, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2019, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2014, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 25 November 2020, at 14:59. Until at least 1863, low availability of equipment to produce the gas, combined with low usage of the gas for medical purposes, meant it was a relatively rare phenomenon that mainly happened among students at medical universities. First recorded in the 18th century at upper-class "laughing gas parties", the experience was largely constrained to medical students until the late 20th century when laws limiting access to the gas were loosened to supply dentists and hospitals. Nitrous oxide in cars has always been popular as an inexpensive performance booster. [18], Supply of nitrous oxide for recreational purposes is illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. In Australia, nitrous oxide bulbs are known as "nangs", possibly derived from the sound distortion perceived by consumers.[11][12]. The memory of this experience, however, quickly faded and any attempt to communicate was difficult at best. It is sometimes used as a recreational drug. In most jurisdictions, like at the federal level, sale or distribution for the purpose of human consumption is illegal. Officials in Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Thames Valley had reported increasing numbers of discarded whipped-cream chargers being found.[9]. Even so, its use in parties continued, with gas provided by medical professionals or restaurant workers,[7][8] and by other legal or illegal sources. Nitrous oxide gas produces euphoriant effects when inhaled. Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is commonly used for sedation and pain relief, but is also used by people to feel intoxicated or high. As a deleterious substance, the supply of the substance for the purposes of inhalation can result in a two-year period of imprisonment. [5] Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge described the effect as "like returning from a walk in the snow into a warm room". Racers have used it for better performance since the early hot-rod days in the 1950s. Small N2O cartridges, used to make whipped cream, can be legally purchased by anyone. 1 It also has properties that attract recreational drug users. Its rapid offset of action and lack of hangover e… Patients who have had vitreoretinal surgery often have a gas bubble deliberately left within the eye as it helps keep the retina attached whilst adhesions develop. Contact was made with a "mystical-religious" group that used the gas to accelerate arriving at their transcendental-meditative state of choice. However, there are some side effects to be aware of. When the bulb is punctured, these solvents can aerosolize, introducing unknown particles into the gas. Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas used by dentists as a sedative and anaesthetic agent. [13] However, letting the gas settle in a whip cream container and slowly dispensing or using a "cracker" dispensed into a balloon mitigates this issue to some extent. Inhaling industrial-grade nitrous oxide is also dangerous, as it contains many impurities and is not intended for use on humans. This is a depressant drug, which slows down the body. [3], Inhalation of nitrous oxide for recreational use, with the purpose of causing euphoria or slight hallucinations, began as a phenomenon for the British upper class in 1799, known as "laughing gas parties". At a recent rock festival, nitrous oxide was widely sold for 25 cents a balloon. [15], In 2020, a fifteen-year-old Irish boy died after ingesting nitrous oxide,[16] leading to Ireland's Health Service Executive classing it as a dangerous drug.[17]. [26], Erowid F, Erowid E. "N2Oily: Nitrous Oxide Chargers—Residue and Usage Surveys. Since nitrous oxide can cause dizziness, dissociation, and temporary loss of motor control, it is unsafe to inhale while standing up. If you love to speed up on the highway and are a fan of The Fast and Furious movies, you might be thinking of adding some nitrous in your car. 381b). Nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, one of several oxides of nitrogen, a colorless gas with pleasant, sweetish odor and taste, which when inhaled produces insensibility to pain preceded by mild hysteria, sometimes laughter. Words used to describe canisters in the United Kingdom include: Supply of nitrous oxide for recreational purposes is illegal; however, it is permissible to supply it for cooking and baking purposes. James described a man who, when under the influence of the gas, claimed to know the secret of the universe.[6]. Its colloquial name "laughing gas", coined by Humphry Davy, is due to the euphoric effects upon inhaling it, a property that has led to its recreational use as a dissociative anaesthetic. Pregnant women should not use nitrous oxide recreationally, because chronic use is also teratogenic and foetotoxic. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Under United States federal law, possession of nitrous oxide is legal and is not subject to DEA purview. While the pure gas is not toxic, long-term use has been associated with vitamin B12 deficiency and its symptoms: anemia due to reduced hemopoiesis, neuropathy, tinnitus, and numbness in extremities. In all US jurisdictions, however, distribution, possession, and inhalation are legal when done under the supervision and direction of licensed medical professional such as a physician or dentist. It works by relaxing smooth muscle to widen (dilate) blood vessels, especially in the lungs. We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. Many states have laws regulating the possession, sale, and distribution of nitrous oxide; but these are normally limited to either banning distribution to minors, or to setting an upper limit for the amount of nitrous oxide that may be sold without a special license, rather than banning possession or distribution completely. Pen. The history of nitrous oxide (N 2 O) begins with its isolation by Joseph Priestly in 1772. Nitrous oxide use among young people is increasing in lockdown because it’s cheap and accessible A common perception is that laughing gas is harmless, but medical experts warn of … There were no adverse effects reported in the more than one hundred individuals surveyed. Weird & Wacky, Copyright © 2020 HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings, LLC, a System1 Company. A report from Consumers Union report from 1972 (based upon reports of its use in Maryland 1971, Vancouver 1972, and a survey made by Edward J. Lynn of its non-medical use in Michigan 1970) found that use of the gas for recreational purposes was then prevalent in the US and Canada.