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Mind-Altering DrugsThe Science of Subjective Experience$
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Mitch Earleywine

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195165319

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195165319.001.0001

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Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

Chapter:
(p.305) 12 Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
Source:
Mind-Altering Drugs
Author(s):

Diana J. Walker

James P. Zacny

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195165319.003.0012

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a gas at room temperature and pressure. It is used primarily for anesthesia but is also used as a propellant for whipped cream or to boost octane levels in racing cars. N2O was extensively studied by Sir Humphrey Davy, who presented a detailed description of his subjective experiences under the influence of N2O, as well as self-reports by friends and colleagues of their own experiences while inhaling the gas. Sir Davy's treatise was a thorough, systematic, and extensive characterization of N2O and was a foreshadowing of two centuries of research to follow. Sir Davy's and subsequent research consisted of the dose-response assessment of subjective effects of acute and repeated N2O administration, examination of individual differences, and the study of environmental and organismic determinants/modulators of N2O effects. This chapter presents the results of such experiments in a chronological framework and attempts to detail the various characterizations of N2O across the years since its discovery.

Keywords:   nitrous oxide, Sir Humphrey Davy, subjective effects

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