Nitrous Oxide (NO2) Dangers

Nitrous oxide or NO2 is a normal gas that has plenty of legitimate uses. Though it’s frowned upon, it also has malicious uses that can be detrimental to one’s health and well-being. As with just about any chemical compound or gas, there are pros and cons. As an aide to help avoid pain during surgery, nitrous can be inhaled and give the patient a euphoric feeling. Unfortunately, these feelings of fearlessness and relaxation have been known to lead many people to addiction. While the positive aspects are numerous, the negative aspects may far outweigh them because of the massive amount of abuse and addiction of nitrous oxide.

The Good Nitrous Oxide

The great thing about the advent of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, at the dentist’s office, is that those afraid of needles or allergic to Novocaine (procaine is the chemical term for it), have an alternative pain relief during surgeries and procedures. Aside from pain relief during surgeries, nitrous is also used in a controlled manner to give cars extra power output. The properties of NO2 also help with preventing the spoilage of food. Aerosol cans with whipped cream can last for months in your fridge because the nitrous oxide inside the can keeps the cream from going bad. It’s also used in food packaging to help perishable food retain its freshness and prevent premature rotting.

The Bad Nitrous Oxide

Though it may feel wonderful when you’re under the influence, or high, of nitrous oxide, its effects can be lethal. Nitrous oxide, in copious amounts, can lead to deprivation of oxygen to the brain. For many, the recreational use appears in the short-term to have little to no effect on the body and its responses. However, after heavy use, the lack of oxygen to the body can result in unconsciousness and in many cases, death. If these things seem serious, it’s because they are.

Though death and unconsciousness are rarer than other effects, nitrous oxide can cause massive lack of vitamin B12. The problem with a heavy lack of vitamin B12 is serious nerve damage, which in turn can result in numbness and tingling in the extremities. You’re probably picturing a teenage kid with a canister of NO2. While that might be accurate, even a few dentists are abusing NO2, and why not? For a dentist its convenient, costs little to nothing, and seems safer than going to a bar. Sadly, there are estimates that abuse of NO2 by dental professionals is becoming a concern. Abuse of nitrous oxide is growing in the U.S., if you or someone you know is struggling with nitrous oxide addiction, call 1-877-978-3302.


“Don’t’ do it!” If only it were that easy. Education or lack thereof is often the reason drugs and other substances begin to be abused. As GI Joe said, “knowing is half the battle.” The truth is, if a potential user is 100% aware of the possible outcomes of addiction, or even recreational use, it might deter them from starting to use it in the first place.

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