Nitrous oxide can be used as a performance enhancer for racing cars. Does this mean that it is legal to consume on the street? Check out our article to find out! Although nitrous oxide can be beneficial as a controlled anesthetic, recreational users of the drug should be aware of its dangers and risks in case of abuse. As of 2019 [update], gas enjoys moderate popularity as a recreational drug in some countries. Nitrous oxide has the street names hippie-crack and whippets (or whippits).  In Australia and New Zealand, nitrous oxide lamps are known as Nangs, which can be derived from the sound distortion perceived by consumers.   The recreational supply of nitrous oxide is illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act, 2016. This means that anyone who sells or gives nitrous oxide for illegal purposes is liable to up to 7 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.  Because nitrous oxide can cause dizziness, dissociation and temporary loss of motor control, it is dangerous to inhale standing. So part of the safer use may be inhaling it while sitting, as there is less risk of injury from falling. Direct inhalation from a tank poses a serious health risk, as frostbite can occur because the gas is very cold when released. For these reasons, most recreational users divert the gas into a balloon or whipped cream dispenser before inhaling it.
 At first glance, one might think that nitrogenous modifications are legal in California, as Criminal Code 381b only refers to possession of nitrous oxide “with intent to breathe, inhale or ingest” as an offence. Many enthusiasts understood that this meant that it was completely legal to connect it in the car. Nitrous oxide (street name hippie crack, whippets or whippits) is a gas that can cause euphoria, hallucinogenic states and relaxation when inhaled.  First recorded in the 18th century at upper-class “nitrous oxide festivals,” the experiment was largely limited to medical students until the late 20th century, when laws restricting access to gas were relaxed to serve dentists and hospitals. By the 2010s, nitrous oxide had become a moderately popular recreational drug in some countries.  Possession of nitrous oxide is legal in many countries, although some have criminalized recreational taxation. Nitrous oxide is used during leisure time, as inhalation can cause euphoria, relaxation and a hallucinogenic state.  Long-term or habitual use may result in serious neurological damage.  A dentist usually has a 10- to 20-pound nitro tank. Recreational users typically use 8 grams (1/4 oz) of nitrous oxide “whisk” containers with which they fill balloons or whipped cream dispensers. The gas is then inhaled from the flask or distributor.
 This is necessary because nitrous oxide is very cold when decompressed adiabatically when it comes out of a canister; Inhalation directly from a reservoir is dangerous and can cause frostbite of the larynx and bronchi.  Until at least 1863, the low availability of equipment to produce gas, combined with a low use of gas for medical purposes, meant that it was a relatively rare phenomenon, occurring mainly among medical university students. As devices for dentistry and hospitals became more available, most countries also limited legal access to the purchase of nitrous oxide bottles to these sectors. Despite this, it continued to be used at parties, with gas supplied by medical professionals or restaurant employees and from other sources, legal or illegal. In addition, it is completely illegal to drive road races, with or without nitro. This law explicitly states that “the presence of a cartridge that appears to contain nitrous oxide on a vehicle” is also considered illegal. Texas also has nitro inhalation laws, making it a misdemeanor. However, there are no laws on its use in the automotive sector. In most cases, it is considered legal not to use for road racing.
External symptoms that appear shortly after inhaling nitrous oxide are a feeling of euphoria and relaxation, spatial and temporal disorientation, increased pain threshold, auditory and visual hallucinations, and a lower tone (the opposite of helium). All these symptoms are combined with a loss of motor control. Therefore, a person on a nitric oxide trip is at serious risk of falling due to loss of motor control, unless sitting or lying down. Nitrous oxide is a neurotoxin and its use can cause long-term neurological damage.  It`s perfectly normal to want to modify your vehicle in ways other than to make it more attractive or powerful. A popular upgrade is to add a nitrous oxide injection, but this leads people to an important question. Is it legal to install nitro in your car in the United States? It was not uncommon [in interviews] to hear from people who participated in parties where a professional (doctor, nurse, scientist, respiratory therapist, researcher) had provided nitrous oxide. There were also those who worked in restaurants that used N2O stored in tanks to prepare whipped cream. Reports have been received from people using the gas in aerosol cans from food and non-food products. At a recent rock festival, nitrous oxide was sold for 25 cents per balloon. Contact was made with a “mystical-religious” group who used gas to more quickly reach their transcendental-meditative state of choice.
Although some more demanding users have used nitrous oxide-oxygen mixtures with elaborate equipment, most users have used plastic balloons or bags. They either took a puff of N2O or inhaled the gas again. No side effects were reported in more than a hundred respondents.  Prolonged use of nitrous oxide or repeated multiple inhalations of the drug may result in more serious consequences. Since the effect of the drug fades so quickly, a user is tempted to inhale the drug several times in a row. Due to the very low oxygen content of nitrous oxide, repeated application can lead to oxygen starvation, leading to irreversible brain damage. The gas is extremely cold in its natural state, there is a risk of frostbite on the face and lungs in users who inhale nitrous oxide directly from a tank.