Nitrous Oxide - Laughing Gas, Uses and Properties





Nitrous oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, nitrous, or nos, is a nitrogen oxide chemical compound with the formula N2O. It is a colourless, nonflammable gas that tastes and smells slightly sweet at room temperature.



Nitrous oxide is the IUPAC ID.


-88.48 °C is the boiling point.


44.013g/mole for the molar mass


-90.86 °C is the melting point.


Water, sulfuric acid, and ethanol are soluble in each.


2] What is nitrous oxide, exactly?


Nitrous oxide, also referred to as laughing gas or happy gas, is an inflammable, colourless gas. As a sedative, this gas is used in surgical and dental procedures. It aids in calming the patient's anxiety before the procedure and promotes relaxation.



3] Why is nitrous oxide (N2O) called that?


Because of the intoxicating qualities, it has when inhaled, nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas or happy gas. Joseph Priestley, an English scientist and clergyman, made the first discovery of it around 1772. (who was also famous for being the first to isolate other important gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide among others).


4] What Is the Use of Nitrous Oxide?

Medical professionals may administer laughing gas as an anaesthetic to help you relax before a procedure. It's not intended to put you to sleep completely.

Your doctor will request your permission to use nitrous oxide before the procedure. Your mouth and nose will then be covered by a plastic mask. You inhale the laughing gas as it passes through the mask.

Laughing gas can be administered to children through a nasal hood, which only covers their noses. They may occasionally be exposed to a familiar scent to help them get used to wearing the mask or nasal hood.


Within a few minutes, the effects of the laughing gas will start to take hold. You won't fall asleep completely from laughing gas, so you'll be able to hear what's going on around you. Throughout the procedure, you might still be able to respond to your doctor's questions and follow their instructions.

Because nitrous oxide is a depressant, it causes your body to slow down. Once it begins to work, you might feel; Joyful Lightheaded

slight euphoria

These outcomes give relaxed nitrous oxide the nickname "laughing gas." While using laughing gas, some people may also experience mild hallucinations.


You might experience a physical heaviness in your arms and legs. Additionally, the tingling in your limbs is possible.

Your doctor will take off the nitrous oxide mask once your procedure is finished. Laughing gas usually has a brief effect before wearing off. After removing the nitrous oxide mask, children may be given 100% oxygen. Within minutes, the oxygen helps them recover completely.


5] Nitrous oxide Use Risks 

As previously stated, using laughing gas while receiving medical attention from a doctor is safe. However, using nitrous oxide when it has not been prescribed to you by a doctor carries several risks.

Nitrous oxide is typically administered into a bag, balloon, or mouth when it is used as a recreational drug. As a result, nitrous oxide is categorised as an inhalant. In the silver chargers that are used to create whipped cream, you can find nitrous oxide. For the euphoric effect, recreational users inhale laughing gas.

Using laughing gas as a recreational drug carries several risks in addition to its unfavourable side effects, such as:


reduction in blood pressure

cardiac arrest fainting

Hypoxia, or the fatal loss of oxygen, anaemia and B12 deficiency

Nerve damage brought on by the tingling feeling

Long-term consequences of frequent recreational nitrous oxide use include:

  • No memory
  • Incontinence
  • Depression
  • the psychological reliance
  • Psychosis
  • weakened immunity
  • tingling in the hands and
  • Muscle spasms
  • Your ears are ringing.


Laughing gas harms your coordination, just like many other recreational drugs. If nitrous oxide is used in a location where you could fall and harm yourself or endanger others, this could be hazardous. Driving or operating machinery while under the influence of laughing gas is extremely risky.

6] Possible Nitrous Oxide Side Effects

The use of nitrous oxide is safe when done so with a doctor's supervision. However, some individuals may encounter negative effects during or after use.

Headaches and nausea are two of laughing gas's most frequent adverse effects. Following the removal of the laughing gas, children might become agitated or experience nausea. Only 5% of patients experience these side effects, which is good news.

Nitrous oxide has no long-term negative effects when used infrequently. But if you frequently or repeatedly need to have procedures that involve laughing gas, your doctor might advise taking a B12 supplement. This will aid in preventing anaemia.




7] What Are Nitrous Oxide's Side Effects?


The California Dental Association (CDA) claims that the majority of patients don't have any unpleasant side effects. However, nitrous levels that are too high or nitrous that is breathed in too quickly can have negative effects.

Among the potential negative effects are:



excessive perspiration

vomiting and/or nauseous

Fatigue \sDizziness

Following the termination of the nitrous oxide gas, oxygen is administered for about five minutes. This lessens the likelihood of experiencing a headache. The oxygen makes the patient more awake and alerts while also clearing out any leftover gas from the lungs.


8] The Advantages of Nitrous oxide? 

Since nitrous oxide is a secure and reliable sedation option, dentists favour it. By breathing pure oxygen through a mask, the effects of laughing gas—which quickly relaxes patients—wear off. Additionally, nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep, allowing you to hear and react to any queries or instructions from the dentist.



9] Who Is Not a Candidate for Laughing Gas?

Although nitrous oxide is thought to be a secure and reliable sedative, it might not be the best option for you. The AAPD identifies some risk factors for laughing gas use. If you suffer from any of the following conditions, let your dentist know:

Pregnancy is currently in its first trimester.

respiratory illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the past (COPD)

a lack of B-12 vitamin

background of drug abuse

An enzyme disorder is a lack of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase

a background of mental illnesses

During dental procedures, laughing gas can be a helpful tool for reducing pain and anxiety. Speak with your dentist about your options if you believe using nitrous oxide during your upcoming procedure or appointment would be beneficial.



10] What Purposes Does Nitrous Oxide Serve?

  • Patients who exhibit fear, worry, or resistance
  • patients who require specialised medical care
  • patients whose gag reflexes make it difficult to provide dental care
  • Patients who don't react to local anaesthesia well
  • Patients under the age of 18 who must endure protracted dental procedures


 11] The history of nitrous oxide?


Another British scientist, Humphrey Davy, used the gas in experiments on himself and his friends. After being introduced to nitrous oxide by Davy, poet Robert Southey wrote, "I am sure the air in heaven must be this wonder working gas of delight." It took almost 50 years for anyone to consider using the gas as a surgical anaesthetic, despite Davy's observation that it could be used "with advantage during surgical operations." Instead, opportunity seekers held open exhibitions, which helped it become well known for its entertainment value. These occurred at carnivals and travel medical shows. People could laugh and act silly while breathing the intoxicating gas for a small fee.

One such businessman who benefited from nitrous oxide was Samuel Colt, who used the money to create and manufacture his infamous Colt 45 pistol. A local dentist by the name of Horace Wells attended one of these antics in 1844 in Hartford, Connecticut, which was hosted by a man by the name of Colton.

One of the volunteers, still suffering from the gas, fell into some nearby benches, breaking his leg, which piqued his interest. Wells observed that the man felt no pain and was completely unaware of his injury. He had an immediate desire to use this pain reliever at work. Dr Wells approached Colton and asked him to take part in an experiment the following day because he wanted to test the possibilities.


Colton concurred and gave Dr Wells nitrous oxide while a different nearby dentist extracted one of Wells' molars. As a result of Dr Wells' lack of discomfort during the procedure, nitrous oxide officially entered the world of medicine and dentistry. But the story doesn't have a happy ending. The Harvard Medical School in Boston hosted Dr Wells' demonstration of his discovery the following year. A tooth was extracted while the patient was under anaesthesia. The gas had not yet fully taken effect, which is why the patient screamed. Wells was booed off the stage.

Dr Wells' reputation as a dentist ultimately suffered as a result of this public humiliation, and three years later, he committed suicide. Ironically, Wells would be recognised as the "Discoverer of Anaesthesia" 150 years after his untimely death, and his discovery would be adopted by dental offices all over the world.