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Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous Oxide

AKA: N2O, Laughing gas, Nox.

BACKGROUND:

Discovered in 1775. Analgesic, used for medical or dental purposes since 1840. Used as a recreational drug since the mid-19th century. Used as an aerosol propellant, e.g. whipped cream canisters.

LEGAL STATUS:

> Legal to possess and inhale in the UK.
> Supply controlled under the Medicines Act.

EFFECTS:

A dissociative drug that can cause depersonalization, dizziness, and euphoria. When inhaled the effects are immediate and last less than a minute.

RISKS:

Suffocation. Can be habit-forming because of its short-lived effect (from 0.1 - 1 minute).

LONG-TERM EFFECTS:

In excessive quantities has been associated with vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, neuropathy, tinnitus, and numbness in the fingers and toes. Pregnant women should not use nitrous oxide, as chronic use is associated with birth defects.