Nitrous Description

Robert M. Julien:
"Occasionally, certain anesthetic agents become misused drugs. Nitrous oxide is an example. A gas of low anesthetic potency, it is incapable of inducing deep levels of anesthesia if an adequate oxygen concentration is maintained. Nitrous oxide induces a state of behavioral disinhibition, analgesia, and euphoria. One of the problems occasionally encountered when nitrous oxide is used for recreational purposes is that, unless the compound is administered with at least 20 percent oxygen, hypoxia (decreased oxygen content of the blood) can be induced. But in order to achieve high enough concentrations of nitrous oxide to get a good behavioral effect, concentrations of 50 percent or greater must be inhaled. If such concentrations are mixed with room air, inhaled
oxygen concentartions drop to low levels and the hypoxia may result in irreversible brain damage." (In other words, don't use it in your vw bus :*)

Weil & Rosen:
"Physicians and dentists have long considered nitrous oxide to be a safe pharmacological agent. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that excessive or prolonged use of it can damage the bone marrow and nervous system by interfering with the action of vitamin B-12. Moreover its use in nonmedical settings presents several hazards that users should keep in mind. Breathing it directly from pressurized tanks is dangerous for two reasons. First, gas flowing from such tanks is very cold -- cold enough to cuase frostbite of noses, lips and (most serious) vocal cords. Being anesthetized, a user may be unaware of such injuries until too
late. Second, because nitrous oxide does not support life, it should be mixed with oxygen if it is to be breathed for more than a few minutes. At private parties, oxygen tanks are rarely supplied, and people have died of asphyxiation by breathing straight nitrous oxide through face masks. One way to avoid these dangers is to fill balloons from tanks and breathe from the balloons.
'Further, nitrous oxide rapidly leads to complete loss of motor control, and anyone who breathes it while standing will soon reel about and fall down. Therefore, it is unwise to try the gas unless one is in a comfortable sitting or lying position. Serious injuries have resulted from people inhaling laughing gas while standing in front of open windows, when driving cars (like your dad, HST), or when operating machinery. Others have been badly hurt by accidentally pulling heavy tanks of nitrous oxide over onto themselves (it's mine! all mine! you can't have any!) while intoxicated. 'People who breathe nitrous oxide for more than a few minutes at a time
may experience nausea, especially if they have just eaten. They may also feel hung over for some time after. Addiction to nitrous oxide is a real possibility. Addicts may suffer serious mood and personality changes in addition to the bone marrow and nervous system damage already mentioned."Plus, it's lots of fun. (My opinion, again.)

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