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The nitrous oxide (N2O) was found in 1776 by Joseph Pristly and Humphry Devy. Devy noticed that when the new gas was inhaled, it caused first a state of anxiety, accompanied by outbursts of uncontrollable laughter and auditory hallucinations. This was the reason it was called a “laughing gas”. Soon, in Devy’s lab, dinners were organized dedicated to the new amusement, where many representatives of the artistic and intellectual elite were present. During these “parties” Devy was the first of all to notice that apart from the other effects the gas also destroyed absolutely the feeling of pain. Therefore he offered it to the doctors, who were at the party, but none of them was interested.
The usage of laughing gas for amusement purposes was never massive, but it was also never stopped even it has slightly increase. From those, who have tried it – if we don’t count those, who thought of themselves as brain-workers, there were such serious personalities such as Winston Churchill. The gas is more popular among those, who are connected in some way with medicine, as for they have access to it. In some countries it is sold in vials and its original use was to be for foaming of victuals (creams, ice creams, etc.), but except its application in the kitchen and in the restaurants some inhale it simply for pleasure. Everyone, who has been under the influence of the gas, identifies the experience as a very pleasant one. The effect comes after half a minute after it has been breathed in and it lasts for mot more than a few minutes. To receive the same a new inhaling is needed, but the dose shouldn’t be greater, on the contrary, it can be even decreased. There are no unpleasant sensations after the usage of nitrous oxide.
It is said, that some of the people, who daily breathed it in (almost all of them were dentists) suffered from pathological changes of the medulla. It deactivates the vitamin B12 therefore it is recommended that tablets of B12 be taken in. The laughing gas may cause pregnant women to give birth to freaks. By the way, its side effects are sometimes more dangerous for the doctors and the nurses than for the regular inhalers. Another serious problem, which is caused by the laughing gas, is the danger of suffocation. It doesn’t support the breathing and the person, without even to notice, may lose consciousness. If there is no one around to help this whole experience can end up tragically.
The ether ((C2H5)2O, Et2O) had the same effect no matter whether it was drunken or inhaled. It was thought that its consequences were not so long lasting as the ones of alcohol, but it causes specific problems to those, who use it. The doses of ether can be easily exceeded, which results in death from an overdose. Its vapors are flammable and people, who have tried to lighten up a cigarette, without paining much attention, received very dangerous and sometimes lethal cauterizations. Recently the ether is inhaled very rarely for mere pleasure; it is also used rarely as an anaesthetic, simply because there are much more safer means for this purpose.