How Does Nitros Oxide Mess With Your Brain?

I had dental surgery a month ago and used the gas and felt really wierd. I felt like I was losing control of myself. I thought of really strange things. Thought I would never be back to normal again. 2 hours flew by and I had no concept of the time.

How does this gas work? How does it affect your brain? What is the best thing to think about while under this magic potion?

I feel soooooooo dumb right now - I used to know this! A few years ago, I worked for a company that supplies Medical Gases - and the properties of nitrous oxide were explained to me.

So I have nothing to add, but I can’t wait to see the answer!

I have to go for surgery again on Tuesday and I am going to use it again. But I dont’ want to feel as strange as I did before. (I’m strange enough <lol>)

After more than a century of people wondering exactly how nitrous oxide works, it was recently demonstrated that N[sub]2[/sub]O is a dissociative, in the same category as PCP, ketamine, or dextromethorphan. And long-term use can deplete … I think it’s vitamin B. I’ll check into that.

I was close – long-term use can cause significant problems (we’re talking numbness, paralysis, bladder and bowel incontinence, and other scary symptoms), mostly by interfering with the use of vitamin B-12, but there are a few other things it interferes with as well. But it seems that it takes a lot of nitrous oxide to do this – the kind of exposure that people who regularly work with the gas might receive, or people who are inhaling several hundred cannisters of N[sub]2[/sub]O per week for a few months. (The really small cannisters, that is, not the big tanks of dental anesthetic. And yes, apparently there really are people who abuse nitrous oxide to that extent.)

The Lycaeum’s page on nitrous oxide can be found here, and the specific page on the dangers of nitrous oxide overuse can be found here.

NitrIC Oxide (NO) is a neurotransmitter. Nitrous Oxide is converted to NO in the nerve cells and disrupts normal brain function. The result is intoxication.

Oh my gawd! Does that mean I need to be careful? what if I say something inappropriate? How can I only think good things?

Taking epic amounts of it ( for example, say, sucking down a 50 lb tank by yourself over the course of a cold december) will eventually cause a vitamin b-12 depletion, and the interesting thing about b-12 is, you have to have some to uptake it orally, so if you run out completely, even well after you’re done with your nitrous binge you’ll still be operating on no b-12, which can after awhile can cause paraesthesia, numbing of the extremities, and likely worse if it’s not caught; heard anecdotally from a neurologist about a couple of other patients she had who were dentists and got hooked on the stuff, ultimately had to give up the practice because they had lost sensation in their hands and it didn’t come back even after a regimen of b-12 shots (which can do the trick in most cases). as far as what’s going on in your brain, it’s a drug. :slight_smile: But I’ve haven’t known anyone just taking it occassionally, recreationally, who has had such impact.

Well, yeah, like any other time your reasoning is affected, you’re in danger of doing something dumb. I have a step-cousin who said that under the influence of sodium pentathol he started volunteering things he wouldn’t have told a priest.