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What is NOS?

Nitrous Oxide - which to a lot of us is known as NOS or laughing gas, is an anaesthetic gas with pain-relieving properties. NOS has become widely available for recreational use and normally is used in social settings when the user would inhale the gas from a balloon using a whipped cream canister. As this drug is becoming widely popular, we must highlight like all drugs NOS has the potential for psychological dependency, although this can be rare.

NOS is a depressant drug that slows down the body. When it is inhaled it can make the user feel happy, relaxed, and hit the giggles, hence the name ‘laughing gas’. NOS can also lead to mild euphoria, feeling light-headed or dizzy and even cause slight hallucinations. Some people even experience headaches/nausea while using it.


Nicknames/Street names

Hippy Crack, Whippets Laughing Gas, NOS, NOZ, The ‘innocent’ Party Drug, Balloons, Chargers, Sweet Air.

Side Effects of NOS

  • Dizziness

  • Dissociation

  • Euphoria

  • Blurred Vision

  • Giggling/Laughing

  • Loss of balance

  • Sound Distortions

  • Nausea

  • Hallucination Effects

  • Tight chest – particularly after heavy use or if asthmatic

  • Deep silly voice

  • Headache

The risks of using NOS

Inhaling NOS can result in a lack of oxygen to the brain. This could result in unconsciousness or even death from suffocation or heart problems. This risk is greater if the gas has been consumed in an enclosed space with lack of natural air and a lot being used at the one time without breaks in-between.

Regular/heavy use of NOS has been linked to a B12 deficiency. This can lead to nerve damage which causes pain and tingling in the toes and fingers. Recent studies suggested a link between heavy use of the gas and anaemia.

It’s best NOT to drink alcohol when using NOS. Both are depressant drugs and when used together increase ill effects and often cause accidents. When you combine NOS with other drugs your breathing can become affected meaning your putting your body under serious pressure. Try to focus on one thing, rather than dual use.

NOS and The Law

Since the New Psychoactive Substances Law came into force in 2016 it has been illegal to sell or give away for other people to use. Those who are found