Laughing Gas: How To Use N₂O Responsibly
In this article we explore nitrogen oxide, or laughing gas, and how to use it safely and responsibly.
Laughing gas is made up of nitrogen oxide, a natural chemical compound which, at room temperature, is a non-flammable, colourless gas with slightly sweet, almost metallic taste.
Apart from being found in everything from whipped cream cans to race cars, nitrogen is also commonly used as a recreational substance. And it’s not hard to see why; it’s legal, cheap, and produces a reliable burst of euphoria.
But how exactly do you go about using laughing gas (or nitrogen)? Read on for simple instructions on how to use nitrogen responsibly.
USE BALLOONS AS A METHOD OF ADMINISTRATION
There are numerous ways to enjoy laughing gas; you can inhale it from whipping cream containers or cooking sprays, but we always suggest using a balloon in combination with a canister and cream charger.
Bypassing balloons and inhaling directly from a canister and inhaling it can freeze your mouth and airways, causing severe harm. Also, when inhaling gas from a canister, the speed is harder to control, meaning you might “overdose” and faint – something you don’t want to do. So, for safe and reliable results, use a balloon.
Simply blow some air in a balloon, hook it up to your nitrogen cartridge and slowly fill the balloon with the gas. Make sure you tightly seal the tip of the balloon so no gas escapes.
Then breathe in some air, place the tip of the balloon in your mouth, release the contents slowly into your mouth, and inhale it. Hold it in your lungs for a few seconds, then exhale like you would a toke from a joint, and repeat.
Make sure to take it easy; while laughing gas creates a funny sense of euphoria, it can also make some people dizzy or nauseous.
BEWARE OF THE HEALTH RISKS
Unfortunately, we live in a world where most things that make you feel good have at least some health risks. And laughing gas isn’t excluded from the list. However, it is considered a low-risk substance, meaning it’s not as harmful as other substances.
As we mentioned earlier, nitrogen can also make people feel dizzy, nauseous, or even cause vomiting.
Here are some of the other health risks of using nitrogen oxide recreationally:
- Taking it directly from a canister or cartridge can freeze your mouth and airways. This can cause severe freezing wounds on the mouth, lips and vocal cords.
- Inhaling too much nitrogen can cause you to faint and become unconscious.
- Combining nitrogen oxide with other drugs increases your risk of a bad trip.
- Using nitrogen oxide when you have a cold can damage your mucous membranes. This can cause ear pain or, in severe cases, permanent hearing loss.
- Chronic nitrogen use causes vitamin B12 deficiencies. These deficiencies can lead to neurological issues.
- Using nitrogen oxide which is not food-grade or designed for human consumption may expose you to additional risks, although this isn’t 100% clear.
- Inhaling nitrogen gas may introduce small metal particles into your lungs.
FOLLOW THESE TIPS FOR EXTRA SAFETY
Here are some basic tips designed to help you minimize the health risks of using nitrogen gas:
- Use clean, food-grade gas (like that found in cream chargers or crackers).
- Always administer nitrogen using the balloon method we explained above. Never take nitrogen directly from a can or cartridge.
- Never inhale a whole balloon. Consume nitrogen in small doses.
- Breathe in some air before inhaling the gas to avoid robbing your body of too much oxygen.
- Store nitrogen in a cool, dark place. Never expose your cartridges to extreme heat or a naked flame as they can and will explode, possibly causing serious bodily harm.
- Always sit down while taking laughing gas.
- Don’t mix nitrogen with other substances like alcohol or other recreational drugs.
- Do not use laughing gas while pregnant.