Why did nitrous oxide do this to me?

Yesterday, I had four impacted wisdom teeth removed. Since I was to be sedated, I had to get an I.V. I am scared of needles, to the point of tears and hyperventilation. They offered me laughing gas to calm me down before they inserted the I.V.

I could smell the gas, but all it did was make me feel sick. It also had a bizarre side effect–I wanted to laugh, physically, but it had no mental connection. It was simply the action of laughing. I was still terrified inside. Only the feeling of illness distracted me a little from the needle, but I didn’t get the euphoria everyone talks about.

After they inserted the I.V., I got my usual post-needle nausea and everything, which I attribute to the nervousness. What gives? Why didn’t I get the “high” associated with nitrous oxide?

That’s why it’s called “laughing gas”.

Have you ever had gas before? Assuming you haven’t, do you know what the side effects should be? My guess is that you were to overwhelmed with the thought of the IV to be calm enough to feel the effects of the nitrous. In other words, the panic attack was a buzzkill. In the future, I would think you’d be better off with some valium before hand.

Not sure if that was scarstic or not, but in all the times I’ve had laughing gas (granted they where ummm well beyond “therapeutic levels”) it’s never made me laugh.

It’s my understanding that Nitrous has no odor, what you’re smelling is the cleaning solution used to clean and sterilize the mask.

Nitrous rocks! I never got “high” from it either, but it certainly did relax me. My old dentist used it for cleanings, fercryinoutloud!

I was thinking that the fear was the big killer. I wasn’t sure, though, because I had a friend who told me that she was panicking until she starting inhaling the gas, which calmed her right down.

Like any drug, N[sub]2[/sub]O doesn’t work for everyone. It does make some people laugh for no reason, so do Versed and Atavan. Not everyone, just some.

I also considered that. I’m currently taking oxycodone for the pain, and I don’t find any particularly different effects between it and NSAID painkillers. Is it just too low-dose to get the “high” that it obvious must give some people, since it’s a controlled substance (and an abused drug)?

Aw, I’m sorry you had a bad experience. The one time I was given nitrous oxide was when I was 10, while an ER doctor picked gravel out of my knee(bike riding mishap). In spite of my injury, it’s actually one of my good childhood memories, just because of the gas, and how cool it felt. I definitely got a high from it. The nurse took it away for awhile when I said something along the lines of, “wow, look at the air!”


Maybe some people just aren’t affected by it in the same way, but the idea that anxiety overshadows the pleasant effects makes sense to me. When I was a child, I had an idiotic dentist who thought it was better to keep his patients in the dark as to what he was doing, rather than explain it to them. He gave me nitrous, but told me it was “air”. I started to feel strange, but didn’t know why, since I assumed I was only breathing oxygen or something. It made me more anxious since I didn’t know what was happening to me. But later in life, with a different dentist, who explained to me that he was administering “laughing gas”, I had a very pleasant sensation from it - a feeling of euphoria. So I think it might depend on your state of mind at the time the gas is administered.

And in high dosages, it most definitely produces uncontrollable laughter in many people. You can buy it in head shops. I was with a group of friends once who were goofing around with it. You fill a balloon with the gas and then inhale the contents so you get a one-time concentrated dose. Every one of us who tried it experienced about 30 seconds of uncontrollable laughter. We even challenged each other to not laugh, and it was literally impossible not to.

I’d had ‘laughing gas’ a few times as a kid and found it to be a pleasant experience. I had to have a tooth extracted just two weeks ago and found the gas this time, thirty years later, to cause anxiety and a feeling of drowning. The dental assistant later told me that my blood pressure shot up. I think I’d rather have the I.V. in the future.

The I.V. sedation was great.

“Is that the sedative I’m feeling?”
“No, that’s just the saline from the I.V. You’ll feel it in a second.”

Next thing I remember I’m in the elevator down to the parking garage.