Nitrous Oxide, has been nicknamed ‘laughing gas’ due to the euphoric and relaxed feeling people who inhale it can sometimes feel, but it’s not all giggles with this gas. 
The gas is normally bought in pressured canisters, commonly transferred to a container, e.g. a balloon, from which the gas is inhaled.

Nitrous oxide is not illegal to possess, but this doesn’t mean that it is safe to use.

The effects of nitrous oxide vary depending on how much has been inhaled but they include:

• Feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness.
• Dizziness, difficulty in thinking straight and fits of giggles/laughter.
• Sound distortions or even hallucinations.
• In some people, a headache can be an unwanted immediate effect.

Risks include:

• Unconsciousness or death from lack of oxygen. This occurs when the available oxygen for breathing is effectively pushed out by the nitrous oxide.

If someone collapses, call an ambulance immediately, turn them onto their side to avoid choking and stay with them until the ambulance arrives. Remember, you won't get into trouble with the authorities for having taken drugs – paramedics don't call the police unless there has been a fatality.

Published: August 2014