This is what taking laughing gas (aka hippy crack) does to your body

This is what taking laughing gas (aka hippy crack) does to your body

You know it’s festival season when the balloons come out (Picture: SWNS)It’s festival season and that means just one thing for many party revellers – laughing gas.
Nos, hippy crack, n20, happy gas, balloons, nitrous oxide – whatever you call it, it’s loved by many welly-cladded festival-goers.
This week hundreds were seen enjoying themselves and having a giggle with balloons at Glastonbury.
But do recreational users really know what it’s doing to their body?
What is laughing gas?
Nitrous oxide is the scientific name for the colourless, odourless gas.
It is usually administered in pressurised canisters – often used in a charger to make whipped cream – which is then blown into balloons.
When inhaled it works quickly causing a light-headed, euphoric feeling which often makes users erupt into fits of laughter – hence the street name, laughing gas.

Recreational use balloons to take it (Picture: Rex)The gas slows down the body’s reaction time and also functions as a mild sedative and pain relief, which is why it is often used alongside oxygen during childbirth and dentist procedures.
However, the effects wear off very quickly, meaning recreational users often find themselves quickly reaching for more balloons.
Under the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act, nitrous oxide is illegal to give away or sell, with a penalty of up to seven years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
However, there is no penalty for possession, according to the national drug advice site Frank.

Side-effects can be more severe than many realise (Picture: SWNS)What does it do to you?
This euphoric, silly feeling is thought to be produced by the changes nitrous oxide causes in the brain’s blood flow, according to healthline.
Many often feel dizzy and light-headed afterwards which for most is a momentary feeling.
It can cause some short-term side effects, such as excessive sweating, shivering, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
Now we hate to spoil the fun but, like many other drugs, the outcome can be fatal if you take too much.
Inhaling a lot of the gas can starve oxygen to the body and lead to brain damage, leading someone to fall unconscious and suffocating from this lack of oxygen.

Nitrous oxide can be fatal if too much is inhaled (Picture: Rex)What are the long-term risks?
Regular recreational users of laughing gas can end up suffering with a deficiency of vitamin B12 or anaemia, says Frank.
A severe deficiency can lead to extreme nerve damage, causing pain, tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes.
Regular use can stop you forming white blood cells properly, which are essential for fighting off serious infections.
So next time you reach for that party balloon, you might want to have a think about what it’s really doing to your body.

Think again before you grab that balloon (Picture: Getty)


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