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Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is commonly used for sedation and pain relief, but is also used by people to feel intoxicated or high. It is commonly used by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.
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.
The silver canisters might look innocent enough but there are serious health concerns linked to taking the drug. Small, silver canisters littering streets, near parks and across communities have become a common sight in Wales, especially after large gatherings during lockdown. They might look like just another part of the growing rubbish problem, but the sheer amount illustrates how they are becoming an increasingly popular way for people to get high.
The discarded canisters, which can cost as little as 50p, actually contain nitrous oxide, but while it might also be known as 'laughing gas', there is nothing very funny about the dangers it can hold.
A recent Global Drug Survey listed it as the fourth most used drug in the UK, behind ecstasy, cocaine How to use laughing gas canister cannabis. But while it might not be as dangerous as some of the drugs on that list, chronic use of laughing How to use laughing gas canister can be a real danger and cause many problems for the long-term health of users, and there have even been been deaths recorded from its use. A study on drug use and misuse across seven universities in Wales showed that the most commonly used drugs were cannabis, followed by ecstasy, cocaine, and N2O.
A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said: "Nitrous Oxide has several legitimate uses but when inhaled it can cause unconsciousness or death due to a lack of oxygen. Mixing alcohol with nitrous oxide can be fatal. Its legal uses include as an anesthetic in hospitals, or in the hospitality industry to charge large canisters of whipped cream, but despite it being outlawed inmany people continue to use it.
Health problems can include memory loss, disorientation and disassociation, but one of the most serious is the degeneration of the spinal cord. And it doesn't stop there, nitrous oxide can cause dizziness and affect your judgement, creating a risk of accidents. In large quantities it can also cause the user to faint or pass out, if nitrous oxide is inhaled through the mouth from a pressurised gas canister or in a confined space it can cause sudden death through lack of oxygen. People open the canister, transfer the gas into a container usually a balloonthen inhale from the balloon.
Inhaling nitrous oxide directly from the canister is very dangerous because the gas is under such high pressure. It can cause a spasm of the throat muscle and stop a person breathing. Nitrous oxide is often taken in combination with other drugs. So its effects can be unpredictable, as it depends on what other drugs are being taken with it.
It may be possible to become psychologically dependent on nitrous oxide, meaning that users develop an increased desire to keep using it despite the harm it may cause, but the evidence on this is limited. In anecdotal reports, some people have reported developing cravings or feelings that they want to continue using nitrous oxide.
Heavy, regular use of the drug can cause a deficiency of vitamin B12 and a form of anaemia. Severe vitamin B deficiency can cause serious nerve damage. Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that when inhaled can make people feel euphoric and relaxed, but it can also cause some people to have hallucinations. The effects are caused by the drug slowing down the brain. Nitrous oxide is normally bought in pressurised canisters. It is then transferred to a container such as a balloon to be inhaled. As ofnitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply for its psychoactive effect.
Supply and production can get you up to seven years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. The Home Office released a statement saying: "Nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply for its psychoactive effect. Whether a substance is covered by this exemption is ultimately one for a court to determine based on the circumstances of each individual case". The disgusting mess left behind after mass gathering of young people at Ogmore-by-Sea.
Huge amount of How to use laughing gas canister left in Cardiff Bay after the hottest day of the year. The Royal College of Nursing claims nitrous oxide is often seen as being low How to use laughing gas canister and offering a short, harmless burst of euphoria. But the Office for National Statistics data shows there were 25 deaths directly linked to the gas between and BBC Radio 2 resident doctor Sarah Jarvis said: "I see them on the floor all the time, by the roide during lockdown, as well as since.
Speaking about the effects of taking the drug, she said: "You come down pretty rapidly, which is why people will use it very regularly. What happens is that if you don't have enough oxygen which is given straight away after you have the nitrous oxide, then the drug diffuses into the air containing cavities inside the body fastest than the nitrogen can diffuse out.
You can literally asphyxiate. Talking about the issue of spinal damage, she said: "This is the issue with B Vitamin B12 is vital for all sorts of activities. It is essential for your immune system, for your nervous system, for your blood system and for your reproductive system.
If you do an MRI of the spinal cord you get this characteristic feature of only part of the spinal chord. Video Loading Video Unavailable. Click to play Tap to play. The video will auto-play soon 8 Cancel Play now. There are always big stories on WalesOnline - don't miss any with our daily Invalid Something went wrong, please try again later. me up now We use your -up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you.
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The danger behind laughing gas canisters you see dumped in parks and on the street
More info. Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice. The facts about nitrous oxide What does it look like? You may have seen these metal canisters lying around in streets outside bars and nightclubs.
Some people say that the gas has a slightly sweet smell and taste. How do people take it? Nitrous oxide is inhaled. How does it make you feel? Physical health risks It is very dangerous to inhale nitrous oxide directly from the canister, and doing it in an enclosed space is also very dangerous. Never place a plastic bag over your head. People have died this way. Other risks include: Dizziness, which might make you act carelessly or dangerously. Heavy regular use of How to use laughing gas canister oxide can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anaemia.
Severe B12 deficiency can lead to serious nerve damage, causing tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes. This can be very painful and make walking difficult. Regular use can stop you forming white blood cells properly. It can be hard to judge the amount to use safely. If you have too much you can end up fainting, having an accident or worse. Can you get addicted? The disgusting mess left behind after mass gathering of young people at Ogmore-by-Sea View gallery.
Huge amount of rubbish left in Cardiff Bay after the hottest day of the year View gallery. Follow WalesOnline. More On Crime.
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Laughing gas: how to use n₂o responsibly
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