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Topic: Nitrous Oxide  (Read 15466 times)

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glick056

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Nitrous Oxide
« on: May 18, 2004, 09:25:08 PM »
I was rather curious if Nitrous Oxide found in like Whip Cream bottles is dangerous/bad for you because I have heard different statements regarding it.
    1.  It is not bad for you, in fact it is the exact same they give you at the hospital/dentist
    2.  It is bad for you because even in the dentist they give you oxygen at the same time

Anyone know for a fact if it is harmful or not if not taken in excessive quantities?

Corvettaholic

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Re:Nitrous Oxide
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2004, 11:57:19 AM »
Like helium, it can kill you in sufficient quantity. Reason you get oxygen is so you don't die from prolonged breathing of it. If you're breathing just nitrous oxide (also used for drag racing cars) then your lungs aren't getting the plain ol oxygen they want. I don't think a whip cream can would kill you, but I still wouldn't do it.

Offline jdurg

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Re:Nitrous Oxide
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2004, 03:24:21 PM »
At the dentist, they are also regulating the amount of N2O that is going in you.  When you inhale a balloon full of the stuff, you are getting WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more at one time than you would at a dentist's office.  Nitrous oxide is a general anesthetic.  That is, it affects your central nervous system and kind of "numbs" it.  If you ingest too much, it can cause your heart to stop.  That will kill you.  With helium, the problem is that the He gas will displace oxygen from your lungs and make it difficult for your cells to respire properly.  However, the gas itself is much lighter than air and so what you inhale quickly escapes your lungs.  Nitrous oxide is a bit denser than air, I believe, so you have to actually force it out of your lungs or wait for your body to metabolize it.  (Helium is actually used in deep sea diving because it does not dissolve in your blood all to readily, so as you come up from the high pressures of the deep sea you don't have to worry about it bubbling out of your blood and causing strokes).  

So in reality, N2O isn't really horrible for you.  It's just that in the situation that kids and abusers use it, they aren't regulating how much they are inhaling so they tend to use faaaaaaaaaaaaaar too much.  I guess you could say the same thing about ethanol as well.  
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Corvettaholic

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Re:Nitrous Oxide
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2004, 03:44:16 PM »
Isn't it with alcoholic drinks that the only that effects you is ethanol? Is it just straight up ethanol? I imagine someone has tried chugged straight lab ethanol, but that seems like a really bad idea to me. If you wanted to burn out your kidneys that bad, go straight to grain alcohol. Doesn't the really pure lab stuff have benzene in it? I remember reading that somewhere on here that you have to add stuff to help purify it.

Offline jdurg

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Re:Nitrous Oxide
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2004, 04:22:54 PM »
Yes.  In order to get pure 200 proof ethanol, you need to add benzene and some other things to it in order to form a different azeotrope.  Some remnants of benzene will still remain.  Also, the government forces ALL chemistry lab ethanol manufacturers to add a denaturant to the ethanol to prevent people from just taking it from a chem lab.  Ethanol is incredibly cheap, but the government taxes the bejesus out of it.  They want people to pay the tax if they want to get drunk, but they don't want to screw over the chemistry business.  You can get pure 200 proof alcohol from a chemical supplier, but you have to prove that you need it without any denaturant or other contaminations, and you also need to get permission from the government and prove that you have it securely stored away.  Basically, it's not worth it for many labs so they just use the denatured stuff.  

If you need pure ethanol, you can just to your local liquor store and pick up grain alcohol.  It's just 190 proof, but it doesn't have any denaturant added to it.  Just that remaining 5% water.  

With the intoxication, the ethanol affects you quite a bit and the byproducts of its metabolism affect you to a lesser extent.  (The metabolites are generally what you feel the next day when you're battling a hangover).
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Corvettaholic

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Re:Nitrous Oxide
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2004, 05:01:36 PM »
Why is it that some people are less prone to hangovers that others? Malfunctioning livers? Cause its really rare for me to get a hangover unless I decide to sample many types of booze all at once.

Offline jdurg

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Re:Nitrous Oxide
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2004, 05:19:50 PM »
A lot of it depends on their prior drinking history and their level of hydration.  The majority of hangovers occur due to dehydration caused by the alcohol and a lowering of the blood sugar which occurs hours after the drinking ends.  (Your liver gets too busy processing the alcohol and its metabolite to output sugar to your body.  This is also why drinking is VERY dangerous for diabetics).  So the low blood sugar, which many people really aren't used to, can cause the headaches and just deadly feeling.  I know that first hand because I'm an Insulin Dependent Diabetic and have dealt with many low blood sugars in my life.  Being used to them is probably why I don't get vicious headaches after a night of drinking.  Properly hydrating yourself is important too.  If you drink a glass of water for every "drink" you take, you'll prevent a horrible hangover as well.  The one thing that is very difficult to avoid is the sluggishness you have the next morning.  I believe it's the buildup of acetaldehyde that makes you feel like doing nothing the next day.  That's the only part of the hangover that I can't really avoid.  But if people's liver are used to the acetaldehyde, they can metabolise that quite quickly as well.  So a lot of whether or not you get a hangover really depends on your prior history of drinking and genetics.  The rest can be prevented by drinking a lot of water while drinking and to have a few glasses of orange juice, or another fruit-based juice, before going to bed.   ;D
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Corvettaholic

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Re:Nitrous Oxide
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2004, 06:03:36 PM »
Now what does the fruit juice do for you? I assume counter some of the chemicals that result of drinking. I already practice the water trick, but its only gin that really gets me. Now take gin, vodka, rum, or whatever. Of course they all taste different, but chemically are they mostly the same? And if not, what happens if you mix? That'd probably confuse your body some.

Offline jdurg

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Re:Nitrous Oxide
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2004, 09:03:17 PM »
Chemically they are nearly similar, but a lot of the flavorings and other tastes associated with each liquor will be chemically different.  The juice provides moisture for your body, but it also provides sugars which your body will need to avoid having a low blood sugar.  Sweet sodas have too many other additives which will cause water to come out of your body while the sugars in fruit juices won't cause that to happen.  
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