Nitrous oxide

From RACKWiki
Nitrous oxide
Other names Nitrous, Whippets, Laughing gas
Health risk Moderate
Addiction risk Unknown
Legal risk
External links

Nitrous oxide, sometimes just nitrous or laughing gas, is a chemical compound with the formula N₂O. It is a colorless, non-flammable gas with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used extensively in the medical field due to its anesthetic and analgesic properties. Its discovery in the late 18th century by Joseph Priestley led to significant developments in the field of anesthesia.

In kink, nitrous oxide is often used in inhalant play, usually in the form of small pressurized canisters manufactured for use on whipped cream dispensers.


Medical uses

Nitrous oxide is a mild general anesthetic. Unlike stronger anesthetics, it does not fully put patients to sleep but rather induces a state of sedation and pain reduction. This makes it particularly useful in procedures where total anesthesia is unnecessary or risky. It is often used in combination with other anesthetic agents to enhance their effect and reduce the needed dosage.

Apart from its anesthetic properties, nitrous oxide is a potent analgesic, providing pain relief. It is particularly effective in managing acute pain, making it a common choice in emergency medicine for minor injuries and in dentistry for procedures like tooth extractions and root canals.

In dentistry, nitrous oxide is used for its ability to reduce anxiety and discomfort during dental procedures. It is administered through a mask that fits over the nose, allowing the patient to inhale a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. The concentration can be adjusted to suit the patient's comfort and the requirements of the procedure.

Mechanism of action

The exact mechanism by which nitrous oxide produces its anesthetic and analgesic effects is not fully understood. However, it is believed to involve the inhibition of NMDA receptors and activation of GABA receptors in the central nervous system. This action results in decreased sensation of pain and an overall state of sedation.

Use in kink


When administered correctly, nitrous oxide usually causes a feeling of euphoria and dizziness somewhat comparable to poppers. Other than a theoretical risk of B12 depletion[1], there are no known long-term effects of nitrous oxide use. Recovery from nitrous oxide is rapid, usually occurring within 30 seconds after administration has been ceased. While nitrous oxide is by itself non-toxic, it is an asphyxiating gas and can cause hypoxia when administered in large quantities, or when it is used in self-play.

Dangers in self-play

Nitrous oxide has been involved in numerous self-play accidents. As it has the potential to cause hypoxia, victims are usually unable to react accordingly by themselves. It is extremely dangerous to attempt self-play with nitrous with any arrangement that is not specifically designed to be hypoxia-safe.

Fire danger

Although nitrous oxide is a non-flammable gas at room temperature and pressure, it rapidly decomposes and can present an abundant source of oxygen if exposed to high temperatures. This production of free oxygen can cause normally slow burning materials to burn much more vigorously. If large volumes are released near open flames pre-existing fire hazards are multiplied and fires may quickly spread out of control. The risk of out of control fire should be considered both from out-of-scene elements such as decorative candles or fireplaces and deliberate in-scene elements such as open flames during wax play or other fire play.

Known accidents and fatalities involving nitrous oxide

  • August 2023: Fatality, 29 years, United States

External links