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Inhaling nitrous oxide

Category: Events



Introduction and description

The inhalation of nitrous oxide is no different in how it works to the principles described under the more general heading of Inhaling volatiles and gases, but its effects are so different and its profile so marked that it needed a separate heading.

Nitrous oxide is regularly used as an anaesthetic and has been used in this capacity for over 180 years.

How it works

For all the information on how it works and the background see the separate section inhaling volatiles and gases, however, in brief the gas seeps past the blood brain barrier via the spinal column and enters the brain, where, because of its specific profile, it affects various organs of the brain knocking them out.

What I hope you will be able to see from the observations, however,  is that the one abiding disadvantage that nitrous oxide has is that although it undoubtedly ‘works’ at low doses, it is also a very effective wiper out of memory and as such you never remember what has happened.  Only children seem to remember, because they are better at accessing their perceptions and building a memory of the experience after the event.

In effect, nitrous oxide works via two mechanisms


References and further reading

  • http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/inhalants/inhalants.shtml
  • Meyler’s Side Effects of drugs
  • The English pioneers of anaesthesia – Frederick Fox Cartwright – which provides a history of the use of nitrous oxide
  • Autoradiographic distribution of volatile anesthetics within the brain – Drs N Cohen, Kao L Chow, and Lawrence Mathers
  • Laughing gas – nitrous oxide – edited by Michael Shedlin and David Wallechinsky, this has far more details on methods of use, safety, history, case histories etc
  • http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/nitrous/nitrous.shtml



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