You may be conversant with a certain gas commonly referred to as “Laughing Gas”. This gas goes by many names: sweet air, happy gas, laughing gas, and Nitrous oxide. Dinitrogen monoxide (N20) is its IUPAC name. It is a colorless, odorless, and non-flammable gas.

Now, although Sir Joseph Priestley discovered the gas in 1772, Sir Humphrey Davy was the first to refer to it as “laughing gas”. He named it laughing gas because of the effect it had on patients, who after inhaling the gas started reacting euphorically and even giggled.

Hence, laughing gas is so-called because it is believed that the gas induces laughter in a person.
Essentially, nitrous oxide is used as an anti-depressant. It induces a euphoric feeling of excitement and happiness when inhaled.

Use
Nitrous oxide is used as a sedative and pain-reliever by Dentists who want to operate on their patients. They provide a mask to cover the mouth and nose of the patient, before administering the gas. Note that, unlike some anesthetics and sedatives, N2O does not cause you to lose consciousness. Instead, it is observed to create a tingling happy sensation.

Abuse
Considering its ability to calm and create euphoric feelings in people, you may wonder why a gas like N2O is still not as common in stores and commercial outlets.

Now, it is important to note that a lot of people already use this gas. While some individuals may make use of it in the right and legal ways, there are also several instances of abuse and illegal use.

Essentially, N2O is only to be used for medical purposes under the prescription and supervision of medical personnel. Also, it is important to note that laughing gas- just like some other anti-depressants, can become addictive. Hence, a person may get hooked on nitrous oxide.

Read on to see reasons why it is never ideal to get addicted to nitrous oxide.

Risks
Chemically, laughing gas is composed of two elements Nitrogen and Oxygen, combined in definite proportions. While Oxygen is not harmful- on its own, some compounds of Nitrogen are.

Firstly, nitrous oxide can be neurotoxic (toxic to the human neurological system: the brain).

Additionally, unrestricted and addictive use of laughing gas can lead to Hypoxia. Note that hypoxia is a medical condition in which parts of the body are starved of oxygen.

Sometimes, the effects of Hypoxia can be minimal with signs such as headache, fever, nausea. Critical conditions, however, may result in suffocation and eventual death.

All of these shows that while N2O may be truly beneficial when rightly used, it could also create devastating and life-threatening effects when misused.

Have you found this post enlightening? Let us know what you think about laughing gas, in the comments section.