13
   

Can you get high from helium?

 
 
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 10:55 am
Mo asked us this the other day.

I told Mo the truth -- No. You can't get high on helium but that doesn't mean it's always safe blahblahblah oxygen deprivation blahblahblah don't inhale it from a pressurized tank blahblahblah but sipping it from balloons is pretty safe.

Later I started wondering if perhaps "helium" was some kind of code name, like "bath salts" so I looked it up and, thank goodness, no, it isn't. The word on the 5th grade street was that plain old helium would get you high.

Even later Mr. B and I were talking about how scary the idea of sniffing glue, huffing spray paint, etc. were in comparison to smoking pot and we were wondering why that was so.

We also discussed that despite our own years of experimentation that neither of us had ever tried the "hard" drugs -- crack, heroin, meth, and we wondered what stopped us. Neither of us ever knew any real addicts so it wasn't some kind of "scared straight" moment. It certainly wasn't the "just say no" mentality of the times.

Neither of us ever tried the do it yourself from products in your garage type of high either.

We felt as immortal as every other kid but something stopped us. We both were presented with opportunities but never indulged.

We hope that Mo won't use drugs at all and that if he does he will show that same restraint and it would help us to know why we acted the way we did but we can't put our finger on it.

So I'm turning to you, A2K, with these questions:

Why do (did) some drugs seem scarier than others?

If you experimented with getting high what stopped you from taking it further?
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 11:17 am
@boomerang,
There are issues regarding helium that involve oxygen deprivation that result in light-headedness that might be construed as getting a high if only fleetingly so. Can't say I personally experienced it myself.

Quote:
Stay Out of That Balloon!
The dangers of helium inhalation.

By Daniel Engber|Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006, at 6:37 PM ET
...
You don't have to worry about fatal asphyxiation if you're sucking from a helium balloon at a party. At worst you'll keep going until you get lightheaded and pass out—at which point you'll stop inhaling helium and your body's oxygen levels will return to normal.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2006/06/stay_out_of_that_balloon.html

Alcohol has been my only nonprescription drug of choice I have ever experienced. And no I never abused prescription drugs either. I lived a sheltered youth so I wasn't exposed to the temptation of illicit drug use.

Some drugs seem scarier then others because of their infamy for causing ultraviolent behavior and/or have symptoms such as flashbacks that occur years after their usage.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 11:33 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Why do (did) some drugs seem scarier than others?


late 1960's
grade 5

a girl in one of the other grade 5 classes was gone. suddenly.

about 2 years later we found out she'd suffered liver, kidney and brain damage as a result of glue sniffing

it put a lot of us off anything that was a chemical

I ran into her about 5 years ago in the old hometown. Alive but twitchy and obviously brain-damaged. Word is she's not alive now.

Chemicals still scare the bejeesus out of me. Medication makes me nervous. I've never been able to use puffers - my emotional reaction to them is very strong.
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 12:06 pm
@ehBeth,
Yikes, that is very scary.

We evidently have "black tar" heroin in our community -- no kids were found using it, but there was a drug bust. So there have been talks about that, etc. I find that scary.

I never did a blessed thing, and I'm not completely sure why.

Part of it is the whole "if you can't be a good example be a horrible warning" thing -- my dad smoked pot, and I didn't like that he smoked pot, at all. It took the "cool" bloom clean off of that rose.

Secondary element is that I've always, always, from when I was very small, had a major pushback response when I feel pressured or coerced. So I had an initial "eh" reaction to pot (plus cigarettes and acid), and then when I felt pushed that negative reaction was redoubled.

Many of the friends who offered me those things went on to harder drugs but not in front of me. I went to many parties where the air was thick with pot smoke (so I'm not sure it's accurate to say I've never done anything at all, I probably got a mild high just from breathing), but the harder stuff was done in bathrooms and I wasn't invited. That was fine with me. I didn't like how my friends acted when they were on drugs.

They didn't really, either, though, so that was another element. I became known as the one who just plain didn't do anything, and eventually I got a lot of respect for that. Several of my friends had serious substance abuse problems (mostly alcohol, some harder stuff), and they moved from "come on, try it" to "you're so smart to stay away from this stuff -- stay strong, don't start." So that helped keep me away.

I hope my kid doesn't do anything, including pot. I don't like smoke. Pot brownies would be OK-ish (in the sense of I don't want her to but if she's going to, I'd much prefer that to actually smoking). But I definitely go the "open communication" route on this. I'd rather she be safe than just leaving it at "don't do anything," period. (She had a DARE thing at school and brought the booklet home, it was way too simplistic/ alarmist, I did some major critiques and we had a good talk.)
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 12:13 pm
@sozobe,
Helium's an inert gas.

Almost every other "huffing" substance has stuff that can affect your nervous system for the rest of your life.

Same thing with most illicit drugs. Cocaine, Ecstasy, heroin, etc. They're either wildly addictive, or they can destroy neurotransmitter receptors, or both. It doesn't happen to everyone, but it's basically playing russian roulette with your brain chemistry. There are folks who are paranoid schizophrenics because they tried Ecstasy one time.
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 12:21 pm
@DrewDad,
Yes, that's a great point and something we talk about a lot.

Both E.G. and I had a lot of friends who did drugs. Some of them were fine. Some of them were not.

It's not as simple as "if you do this, bad things will happen." If that's the message, then the first time that someone tries it and nothing bad happens, they think the whole thing is BS.

It's more that it can be a terrible thing, and it's really hard to know in advance.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 12:32 pm
@sozobe,
I never tried any illicit drugs, either. I don't really know why, except my head's a weird enough place already.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 12:34 pm
Just to be clear -- I know you can't get high on helium. I just didn't really know how else to title the thread in a more provocative way.

I remember hearing something about huffing paint, years and years ago. Something about how for some people it was just BOOM, brain fried and nobody knew whether they would be that person or not. That, I think, is what has always made me so scared of "garage" drugs -- glue, paint, all of those kinds of things.

I don't want to be alarmist in talking about this stuff with Mo. I want to make sure that if he does experiment that he goes into it with good information without seeming like I'm advocating its use.

I absolutely don't want him being like the girl ehBeth knew.

Between smoking and baked goods -- I'm up in the air on that. Sure, smoking is bad but with pot a person can feel the effects immediately and they can regulate their dosage. When you eat something laced with pot by the time you feel the effects it's too late to do anything about it.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 01:04 pm
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:

There are issues regarding helium that involve oxygen deprivation that result in light-headedness that might be construed as getting a high if only fleetingly so. Can't say I personally experienced it myself.

Quote:
Stay Out of That Balloon!
The dangers of helium inhalation.

By Daniel Engber|Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006, at 6:37 PM ET
...
You don't have to worry about fatal asphyxiation if you're sucking from a helium balloon at a party. At worst you'll keep going until you get lightheaded and pass out—at which point you'll stop inhaling helium and your body's oxygen levels will return to normal.



Probably true that the central nervous system will take over after you pass out. I wouldn't bet my life on it, and I do wonder how much oxygen deprivation the brain can take without permanent damage.

One thing about helium, and pure nitrous oxide for that matter, is that it doesn't contain either oxygen or carbon dioxide. Those increased trace amounts of carbon dioxide are what cues the body that we are not getting enough good stuff to breathe. Whether this would interfere with the body's breathing reflex or not, I won't speculate.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 01:30 pm
@boomerang,
Qua the risk of addiction to dangerous drugs,
I think of some filosofy offered by my mom:
"wise is he who learns from his mistakes,
but
wiser is he who learns from the mistakes of OTHERS."





David
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 01:39 pm
Quote:
Can you get high from helium?
Yes, and it is safer than hydrogen.

In 1937, the Hindenburg 'd have been less likely to burn when it was high,
if it had been filled with helium. U shud advise Mo not to rise in hydrogen Zeppelins!

Tell him to use the helium kind to get high.



Some of us, just use hot air balloons!





David
roger
 
  0  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 01:42 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
He is going to need a bigger zeppelin. Helium doesn't lift quite as much.
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 01:45 pm
@roger,
That 's true; the big, clumsy helium atom
is 2ice the size of a hydrogen atom.

I dunno if Mo shall be willing to put up with that!
raprap
 
  0  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 02:08 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
Not twice the size as hydrogen--twice the mass.

Rap
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 02:08 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Why do (did) some drugs seem scarier than others?

Word of mouth in most cases, rarely with specific evidence to back it up. That said, I did have a drunk and a heroin addict in the immediate family. That convinced me that heroin and habitual drinking are both pretty scary.

boomerang wrote:
If you experimented with getting high what stopped you from taking it further?

Hangovers in the case of alcohol, boredom in the case of pot. For me, a pot high just isn't different enough from an alcohol high to be interesting. (This experience seems to be very atypical though. All friends with whom I've talked about it told me that pot highs were very different from alcohol highs for them.)

PS: Oh, and then there's this moderate-depression issue that I sometimes have. Nothing clinically interesting. But credible sources assured me that taking LSD can really mess you up in when you start from that basis --- in a way that's clinically interesting, and I guess biographically interesting, but in a bad way. These assurances stopped me from ever trying LSD, even though I was very curious. (Still am.)
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 02:29 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
For me, a pot high just isn't different enough from an alcohol high to be interesting. (This experience seems to be very atypical though. All friends with whom I've talked about it told me that pot highs were very different from alcohol highs for them.)
In my younger years, when I was drinking 'normally', I actually had the very same experience. And besides that, a bottle of Lambrusco was cheaper than a joint.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 02:31 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
But credible sources assured me that taking LSD can really mess you up in when you start from that basis --- in a way that's clinically interesting, and I guess biographically interesting, but in a bad way. These assurances stopped me from ever trying LSD, even though I was very curious.
The very day I could get LSD, I've read a report about someone who jump out of a window after having taken LSD - the window was closed and was high up in a skyscraper ...
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 02:36 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
These assurances stopped me from ever trying LSD, even though I was very curious. (Still am.)
I read of an incident concerning LSD:
A highway patrol officer pulled someone over and searched him, somewhat.
He stole a little packet from his shirt pocket; a packet from his pocket.
The highway patrol officer sniffed it (presumably, to judge qua drugs)
and he fell over backward in the street, whereupon the victim of that robbery drove away.


The moral of the story is:
it looks like not much LSD is necessary for an overdose.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 02:41 pm
Can you get high from helium?

You can get high voice.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Jun, 2012 04:01 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
...I never did a blessed thing, and I'm not completely sure why...

Secondary element is that I've always, always, from when I was very small, had a major pushback response when I feel pressured or coerced. So I had an initial "eh" reaction to pot (plus cigarettes and acid), and then when I felt pushed that negative reaction was redoubled.

Many of the friends who offered me those things went on to harder drugs but not in front of me. I went to many parties where the air was thick with pot smoke (so I'm not sure it's accurate to say I've never done anything at all, I probably got a mild high just from breathing), but the harder stuff was done in bathrooms and I wasn't invited. That was fine with me. I didn't like how my friends acted when they were on drugs....


I could have written these parts myself, soz! Same story.

I didn't like how my friends acted when they were on drugs, either. They acted stupid. And I definitely didn't want anyone to think I was stupid.

When I was around kindergarten age, I became curious about my parents' cigarettes. My father was determined that I was never going to share this bad habit, so he made me take one long drag. I still remember it. My eyes burned, and I coughed until I almost threw up. It was harsh but effective; I've never wanted to try it again! In addition, I suffered through my entire childhood being trapped in cars full of their smoke with the windows rolled up. And cleaning their filthy ashtrays was one of "my" chores. If those things don't make a child anti-smoking, nothing will! By the time I was a teenager, I began to see the health problems they and their friends had brought on themselves. I could think of a lot better ways to spend my money than ruining my health. It seemed (and still seems!) very stupid. And I still don't want anyone to think I am stupid.
0 Replies
 
 

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