Hot air, balloons
It’s best to take care if Nitrous Oxide is something you choose to do as you could be quite vulnerable when under the influence to the actions of other people or falling over. Avoiding use whilst pregnant is advisable as it is likely to damage the foetus (although as ‘push comes to shove’ you might get some of this particular gas along with air anyway).
You may be aware that it is an anaesthetic and can probably work out that if you anaesthetise yourself you become more vulnerable to accidents and other people.
We’re not aware of people becoming dependent in the UK but any quick acting pleasure can be habit forming; however it’d clearly be unwise to buy canisters for regular personal use.
I’m used to working with people who’ve really damaged their lives through ‘drinks’ and many workers in the field will be used to heroin users’ devotion to ‘bags’ but I’d certainly want to avoid having to explain my dependence on ‘balloons’ to people.
This is probably just waiting for a moral panic to happen, there have been some rumblings, so I’d say an important risk relates to being on the front of the Daily Mail as an example of ‘Broken Britain’.
As with almost all substances compared to the impact of alcohol on individuals and society short and long term it is likely to prove fairly insignificant. Like when the first death results from a driverless car, everyone will forget the deaths caused by drivers in ‘driverful’ cars (you mark my words).
That is not to say that it is risk free so the common sense rules apply: don’t mix with other substances; refrain from showing off trying to get a greater and greater effect; look after your mates and have them look after you. Act as if you care about yourself.
Though the oft cited idea that the buzz is from depriving your brain of oxygen is nonsense (why not use any other gas that isn’t oxygen?) if you do deprive your brain of oxygen, for example by breathing gases other than air, you will experience the ultimate buzz but there will be no going back. Trying to reuse the nitrous could lead to problems as, of course, would use in any space that will deprive you of oxygen including a plastic bag or a car.
In earlier laughing gas news, Humphry Davy could be considered an original research chemical psychonaut when it comes to nitrous. He also had session with Coleridge, a notorious polydrug user. Coleridge may have illustrated some key elements of the human condition in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (or described a bad drugs comedown) but how many Geordie miners did he save with the invention of a safety lamp? None. Anyway, I digress…
Key risks –
- As with alcohol (though it lasts less time) – doing dangerous things whilst intoxicated
- As with alcohol – some people won’t like the effects for example being out of control
- Getting too into it – there generally aren’t too many chemical solutions to existential problems
- Calling it hippy crack
- Being seen as an example of broken Britain’s feckless youth
For more possible risks including vitamin B12 deficiency see here