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dependence and withdrawal symptoms similar to barbiturate addiction are not uncommon. The meprobamate high is very similar to that produced by a barb. In fact, the two drugs exhibit cross-tolerance; that is, a person inured to the effects of meprobamate will not react to a similar dose of a barbiturate, and vice versa.

As sales of meprobamate soared on Madison Avenue and Main Street, other drug manufacturing companies saw the gold mine yawning wide before them. Librium (chlordiazepoxide), Valium (diazepam) and Serax (oxazepam-which breaks down into chlordiazepoxide in the body) were introdnced into the marketplace and well-received by anxious housewives and harried businessmen who found it much easier to navigate through the day with a little help from their "'friends.'*

Although these and other minor tranquilizers are sometimes thought of as rather innocent, they can act very much like barbiturates when taken in high doses. Although the others are generally less addictive and powerful than meprobamate in terms of euphoria, side effects and suicide potential, any differences among the minor tranquilizers are usually erased in illicit use by

ANESTHETICS Some anesthetics, notably nitrous oxide, have been used for leisure and experimental pleasure for well over a hundred years. Many of the drugs discussed as sedati ves and hypnotics are also used to produce anesthesia in medical practice.

Discovered in 1776 by the Englishman Joseph Priestley (who never inhaled the gas), the pain-blocking qualities of nitrons oxide were first observed in 1799 by Sir Humphry Davy, who remarked that the vapor would be effective in surgery "where no great effusion of blood took place." Davy, who had no compunctions about self-experimentation, inhaled 'laughing gas" (also called "sweet air1') with exuberant regularity following his first experience with it; "... I was willing to attribute some of the strong emotion to the enthusiasm, which I supposed must have been necessarily connected with the perception of agreeable feelings, when I was prepared to experience painful sensations Sometimes I manifested my pleasure by stamping or laughing only, at other times by racing around the room and vociferating I have often felt, very great pleasure when breathing it alone, in darkness and silence, occupied only by ideal existence."

Davy experimented with nitrous under Dr. Thomas Beddoes, who founded the Pneumatic the relatively high dosage needed to produce a buzz. Other chemicals of this class include chlormezanone, emylcamate, hydroxyphenamate, mephenoxalone and oxanamide.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS Drugs called

"antidepressants" are of two types. Some, such as Preludin and Ritalin, are central nervous system stimulants; others are essentially sedative in their effecu. This latter category includes the compounds ami triply line hydrochloride (Elavil, Etrafon and Triavil) and imipramine hydrochloride (Tofranil). The mechanism of the action of these drugs is not known, but they are not MAO inhibitors. They are prescribed for biochemical rather than circumstantial depressions, and in depression accompanied by anxiety.

These antidepressants are rarely used nonmedically, as they have a cumulative action only and a particularly long and unpleasant list of possible side effects. The selection includes: confusion, insomnia, seizures, hallucinations, urinary retention, swelling of the testicles, skin rash, nausea, anxiety, change of blood sugar levels, heart block or stroke and many others. Best avoided.

institution in Bristol in 1799 to study the therapeutic uses of gases. Beddoes's other assistant was Peter M, Roget. author of the standard Thesaurus, and his orbit of friends included the poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, the china-maker Joshia Wedge wood, the inventor James Watt-and all joined in enthusiastically with the sweet air experiments. The use of nitrous grew, and at one time nitrous oxide exhibitions were a form of public spectacle.

it was at one of these shows that a young dentist named Horace Wells saw that a man who gashed his leg falling down seemed lo feel no pain. This led to the extensive use of laughing gas as a dental anesthetic, As comedian Robert Klein says, "With nitrous oxide you feel the pain, but you don't give a shit." While nitrons seems to be making a fade-out in dentistry these days, partying with the vapor has become increasingly popular.

Used as a propel la at in whipped cream dispensers, there is enough gas in a supermarket can of gunk for two or three rushes, and nitrous cartridges can be secured from restaurant supply establishments. In the case of the retail cans, first read the label to make sine the gas used is nitrous oxide. Don't shake the can or turn it upside down unless you want a mouthful of whipped cream

Sir / /umphty Dovy Curicature of Sir Humphry Havy's nitrous oxide experiment

(not bad^ but NO- will get you higher), Commercial cartridges of nitrous that employ valve Lubricants should he avoided.

By far the most economical, convenient, safe, impressive and esthetieally pleasing method of dispensing the exhilarating gas is from a nice five-foot-high. blight blue tank. These cylinders are, of course* available only to physicians and dentists, but once a tank is secured, the only other thing medical pioneers ueed for a nitrous party is an appropriate number of" sturdy huge-si zed balloons. These dirigibles arc tilled from the muzzle of the tank, which operates as a gas station-party-goers form a line, fill 'er up with high-test and zoom on to happy motor impairment. ,

While it is by all means euphoric, the nitrous oxide high involves quite a bit more than the convulsive giggles produced by laughing gas in comic sketches such as the Three Stooges classic.

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Nitrons oxide oxygen apparatus from 1890

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Many people feei thai the NO: high is like a short psychedelic trip-a few seconds after inhalation of sweet air, the vapor viper will feci a strong head and body rush often lb 116 wed by a minute or two of euphoria, disorientation, auditory hallucinations and psychic changes. Walls won't melt, but sounds may be perceived as if a wah-wah pedal were installed between ear and brain; large doses tend to stimulate mental illuminations and revelations akin to those of LSD.

In addition to its psychedelic effects, nitrous tends to lower inhibitions and, yes, it often does plant a stupid grin on one's face. As the inhalation of helium makes the voice squeaky, nitrous makes the voice deeper and thicker. Tiny women have been known to remove diminutive lips from a sweet air balloon and croak with a basso prof undo, Sometimes, users may experience a hazy kind of lassitudinous hangover after a long night of gaseous thrills, and other side effects can include headache and nausea (especially on. a full I stomach). Body injuries are not uncommon at nitrous fetes because it's very easy to pass out on the drug, but this danger can be alleviated by the strategic placement of cushions and soft objects.

Although laughing gas can make one unconscious, it is not a toxin or CNS depressant. .In fact, the gas is dangerous only if used in an idiotic manner. If some kind of device is used to continuously supply gas to the mouth, or if an enclosed space is entirely filled with the vapor, the body will soon be deprived of oxygen, with disastrous results inevitable. And sucking nitrous directly from a tank or hose is hazardous because the rapidly expanding gas can easily freeze (he lungs. The balloon method facilely eliminates both dangers.

Nitrous oxide, since its discovery over 200 years ago, has been a traditional favorite of literati. William James wrote of it in 1882: "With me, ¿is with every other person of whom I have heard, the keynote of the experience is the tremendously exciting sense of an intense, metaphysical

Nitrons oxide oxygen apparatus from 1890

illumination." Published in 1961, Allen Ginsberg's Kaddish and Other Poems included an opus entitled "Laughing Gas" which begins this way: "High on laughing gas, [ I've been here before/the odd vibration off the same old universe."

Ether (ethyl oxide) has been in use since at least the fourteenth century. In the early 1500s Valerius Cordus described the distillation of "sweet oil of vitriol" (ether) from "strong biting wine" (alaphol) and "sour oil of vitriol" (sulfuric acid). Introduced into medicine in the early 1700s, ether was widely promoted as a pain reliever and tonic. Its "invigorating" effects were alluded to, but the truth is that ether, when drunk, gets people intoxicated more rapidly and intensely than any alcohol. .

Sir William jcinycs

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Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

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