Chapter

Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide (N<sub>2</sub>O)

Diana J. Walker and James P. Zacny

in Mind-Altering Drugs

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780195165319
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199894055 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195165319.003.0012
Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

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Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a gas at room temperature and pressure. It is used primarily for anesthesia but is also used as a propellant for whipped cream or to boost octane levels in racing cars. N2O was extensively studied by Sir Humphrey Davy, who presented a detailed description of his subjective experiences under the influence of N2O, as well as self-reports by friends and colleagues of their own experiences while inhaling the gas. Sir Davy's treatise was a thorough, systematic, and extensive characterization of N2O and was a foreshadowing of two centuries of research to follow. Sir Davy's and subsequent research consisted of the dose-response assessment of subjective effects of acute and repeated N2O administration, examination of individual differences, and the study of environmental and organismic determinants/modulators of N2O effects. This chapter presents the results of such experiments in a chronological framework and attempts to detail the various characterizations of N2O across the years since its discovery.

Keywords: nitrous oxide; Sir Humphrey Davy; subjective effects

Chapter.  15009 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

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