Nitrous Oxide….all blown out of proportion?

Nos, laughing gas, hippy crack….whatever you wanna call it, Nitrous Oxide has taken the student market by storm. Walk into any house party and hear the familiar sound of balloons being inflated followed by uncontrollable laughter, but is this barley legal pastime actually carrying unknown risks? Nos is a depressant type drug which means it slows your bodies reactions down, similar to alcohol. The effects of nitrous oxide vary depending on how much has been inhaled but they can include feelings of euphoria and relaxation. As well as dizziness, problems with thinking straight and fits of laughter. Some users experience immediate headaches and loss of consciousness – the flip side of the high.

The law states that Nitrous Oxide is technically legal and sellers of Nos tend to get away with it under the cloak of ‘whipped cream dispensers’….cause if you think about it, there is no law against balloons and squirty cream, right? The only law that stands is that they must not be sold to under 18s….so kind of like alcohol and cigarettes. So as the distributors are sleeping easy, and students know that possession of canisters isn’t illegal, is there anything we should be worried about? Well, most people believe that this gas is totally safe….it’s used for women in labour to relieve pain, it was used for years in dental practices and for sedation during medical procedures, but again, Morphine could be justified this way too.

The risks are the quantities of Nitrous Oxide in which students, young people and festival goers are indulging themselves in. Health professionals are warning that individuals inhaling ‘large quantities’ what we may call ‘doubles or triples’ are putting themselves in danger of losing consciousness, suffocation and even losing your ability to walk again due to the vitamin B deficiency that the gas is related to. As the recreational use of Nitrous Oxide is relatively new, nobody really knows the longterm effects of repeated use, and just because it is legal, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. At one time MKAT and Ketamine were legal, and now the devastating physiological and phycological effects of those two is now clear to see.

Nitrous Oxide has become the carefree, legal and hilarious party drug of the year and is used round the world without any worry. But studies are increasingly showing the risks of exposure to the gas and maybe it’s only a matter of time before the balloon deflates and the party’s over.

Photo Credit: Katie Anderson via Compfight cc

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Jenna K Clarke

PR girl, house music lover & weekly columnist for out for my Soundcloud house music picks of the week.

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