Although nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, is banned in the UK , in fact its possession is illegal, this does not mean that there are not young people who consume it. But, perhaps the biggest problem is when when traveling to other countries this substance begins to generate social alarm.
In September of this year, people were alerted to the risk of consuming laughing gas in bottles, and in Barcelona several bottles of the so-called laughing gas were intervened . But why is it so dangerous? Can it kill young people who try it?
What is nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide is, in reality, “a simple molecule, composed of two nitrogen atoms and a single oxygen atom,” as Dr. Antonio Planas, Secretary General of the Spanish Society of Anesthesiology, Resuscitation and Therapeutics, explains for 20 minutes. Pain (SEDAR) .
This substance is used in medicine , since “together with other volatile liquids (halogenated anesthetics), it is part of the general group of ‘inhalation anesthetics'”, says Dr. Planas. For this reason, nitrous oxide is always administered by inhaling it, but in a very controlled way.
What about the young? They do not measure the amount of nitrous oxide they inhale and this, like any other drug, can have serious health consequences. If in medicine this substance can be useful as anesthesia in dental procedures , for example, great care must be taken to ensure that oxygen concentrations are safe.
What are the effects of laughing gas?
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When nitrous oxide is inhaled uncontrollably, it causes a state of euphoria . But, Dr. Planas offers us more information about this substance and it is that “at progressively increasing concentrations, nitrous oxide shows analgesic and amnesic properties”.
The feeling of relaxation to which euphoria is added causes fits of laughter in which the person who has just inhaled nitrous oxide does not know very well what is happening. This can cause you to breathe in even more gas with the health consequences this can have.
What can happen if you breathe in more nitrous oxide than you should? Dr. Planas warns that “the most important risk associated with the inhalation of nitrous oxide is determined by its rapid and massive occupation of the pulmonary alveoli”, which decreases oxygen in the blood .
In addition to this, it can have other effects if used repeatedly, as Dr. Planas tells us. According to him, in these cases, “it can be associated with cardiovascular, neurological, hematological and immunological toxic effects” . Very unwanted effects that have a direct impact on the health of the youngest.
Drinking alcohol and inhaling nitrous oxide – a deadly combination?
Many of the young people who inhale nitrous oxide are partying with friends and it is normal for these circumstances to have alcohol. However, can this enhance the effects of laughing gas or make them worse? Dr. Planas informs us that “alcohol can increase undesirable effects of nitrous oxide such as: dizziness, vomiting, decreased reflexes, etc” .
In addition, he adds that “whoever consumes it may develop uncontrolled or antisocial behaviors.”
Laughing gas may have a flashy and seemingly innocent name, however its effects may not cause as much joy. In extreme cases, it can lead to the death of young people who just wanted to have a good time. For this reason, it is important to know this substance, its risks and choose other options for fun. Although it generates euphoria and laughter, this gas can have a fatal outcome .