By the end of 2023, fans of laughing gas in the UK will have very upsetting news. The UK government stated that by the end of this year, laughing gas, officially known as ‘nitrous oxide‘, will become an illegal drug that has a “Class C” drug categorization. According to the BBC, anyone in the UK who possesses laughing gas will receive a sentence of up to two years in prison. Meanwhile, those who produce or sell the drug could see themselves entering prison for up to 14 years.
‘Laughing Gas’, the drug that the UK government will illegalize by the end of 2023
Nitrous Oxide’s official chemical formula name is N2O and is a popular recreational drug amongst fun-loving people, young and old. This is especially true for people who take nitrous oxide at concerts, raves, and music festivals. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, laughing gas/nitrous oxide is a colorless gas that medical professionals use to sedate and relieve the pain of patients (and pressurized metal canisters usually contain this gas). Additionally, its other functions are food additives when used as propellants for whipped cream and in cars to enhance auto performance.
When inhaling laughing gas/nitrous oxide, people do it from the mouth and the consumption of it can increase euphoria, relaxation, and a hallucinogenic state of mind. However, over-consuming the drug can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, temporary loss of motor control/sensation, dissociation, and anxiety/paranoia. Health experts stated that banning laughing gas in the UK can make things worse for patients seeking medical use in hospitals. Fortunately, the UK government confirmed that the exemptions for laughing gas/nitrous oxide consumption are that it should be used in legitimate settings such as medical institutions and food service establishments (see mention about whipped cream above).