The dangerous effects of laughing gas (aka hippy crack)
Updated: Aug 4
Hundreds of festival goers were seen at Glastonbury last month enjoying themselves whilst sucking on a balloon, unknown to the dangerous side effects.
What is laughing gas?
The scientific name for laughing gas is “nitrous oxide” which is a colourless gas. It has many street names such as: Nos, hippy crack, n20, happy gas, balloons.
The gas slows down the body’s reaction time and functions as a mild sedative and pain relief, which is why it is often used alongside oxygen during childbirth and dentist procedures. For the time being there is no penalty for possessing nitrous oxide, according to the national drug advice site “FRANK”. Although selling or giving away nitrous oxide on lead to seven years in prison, an unlimited fine or both (under the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act).
What does it do to you?
Laughing gas creates a euphoric, silly feeling to the person taking it. This is thought to be the changes to the brain’s blood flow caused by the nitrous oxide, according to Healthline.
It can cause some short-term side effects, such as excessive sweating, shivering, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
With some feeling light-headed and dizzy after in taking the nitrous oxide. Like many other drugs, the outcome can be fatal if too much is consumed at one given time or over a long period of time.
What are the long-term risks?
Like many other drugs, the outcome of taking laughing gas can be fatal if you take too much. The laughing gas can starve oxygen to the brain leading to the user falling unconscious, suffocating from a lack of oxygen or the effects can lead to brain damage.
If you can count yourself luckily and avoid a fatal outcome, the effects of regular recreational use of laughing gas can lead to the user being deficient of vitamin B12 or anaemia. "Severe deficiency can lead to extreme nerve damage, causing pain, tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes" says FRANK. Continuous use of laughing gas can lower your immune system to fight off against serious infections because it prevents the formation of white blood cells properly.
Think before you inhale a party balloon or nitrous oxide canasters!! Don’t feel like you need to fit in with your friendship group or the fact that everyone you know is doing it so it must be okay. Check: https://www.talktofrank.com/drug/nitrous-oxide?a=Laughing%20Gas#how-do-people-take-it for more information on laughing gas and other information on other drugs.
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