Nitrous package.jpg

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is a simple gas that, when inhaled, causes rapid analgesia (pain relief), euphoria, mild sedation, and sometimes psychedelic dissociation. It is widely available and its effects are short lasting.


Nitrous Oxide was first discovered by English scientist Joseph Priestley in 1772, and was first published about in 1776. In 1799, Humphry Davy gave Nitrous Oxide to visitors of the Pneumatic Institute, and coined the term "laughing gas". Through his experiments, he discovered Nitrous Oxide's analgesic effects in 1800. From 1800 to 1840, Nitrous was primarily used for recreation at travelling public shows, but in 1844-1845 Nitrous was recognized as having some medical use in dentistry. In the late 1800's, William James published some accounts of his work with Nitrous Oxide, and called its effects of "some metaphysical significance". Nitrous has remained popular throughout the 20th century, and is sold over the counter in small cartridges ("whippets") for making whipped cream, and in large tanks for industrial and medical purposes.


Nitrous is most frequently used in the form of whipped cream chargers, small metal cartridges which are 'cracked' either into a whipped cream canister or with a special 'cracker' into a balloon for inhalation. A single cartridge is between one and three lungs full of gas. One or two lung fulls is generally enough for a short nitrous experience although many people choose to use many cartridges throughout the course of a night.



Note: both the onset and duration increase with the dose.

Onset 0-1 minute
Total 1-5 minutes
After-effects 15-30 minutes



  • Anxiolytic
  • Euphoria
  • Giggling and laughing
  • Neuroprotection
  • Dream-like state


  • Analgesia
  • Sound distortion
  • Minor to strong hallucinations & visualizations


  • Neurotoxicity
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Reduction of vitamin B12 levels in the body
  • Numbness in extremities

Harm Reduction

Nitrous Oxide should be mixed with air (50/50). If you got pure gas make sure you inhale air, so you don't suffocate yourself.

  • Make sure you are sitting down and won't hurt yourself if you get dizzy
  • Very cold temperatures of the gas can freeze the lips and throat if taken directly from a tank or whippit. Releasing the gas into a balloon first allows the gas to warm before being administered.
  • Avoid driving.
  • Avoid walking or moving in general if possible.


  • Nitric Oxide, a toxic industrial gas, is occasionally mistaken for Nitrous Oxide. Users should be careful they know what they are inhaling. Inhaling Nitric Oxide can permanently damage the lungs or kill.



Check out our Drug Combinations page and chart for interactions and combinations of Nitrous Oxide with other drugs.

Chemistry and Pharmacology

The mechanism of action of Nitrous Oxide can be found here.


Nitrous collage.jpg

Legal status

For a breakdown of the legal status of Nitrous Oxide click here.




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