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shimmery
08-02-2006, 03:38 AM
Remember the part in Fight Club where Brad Pitt's character explains that they have oxygen masks in airplanes because oxygen "gets you high" ?

Well.. does it? What kind of high?
(Mods and others, I'm not looking for info on how to (illegally?*) get high off oxygen. Just looking for plot holes).

*A quick Wikipedia search on oxygen bars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_bar) implies that it is not illegal to consume oxygen.** The most popular flavors of oxygen are strawberry and chocolate!

**Well, when I put it like that....

LiveOnAPlane
08-02-2006, 03:50 AM
It is not exactly an answer to your question, but I have occasionally breathed pure oxygen at time in diving.

For whatever that is worth, no, you do not get high on it. I've never noted any dizziness or anything else. It is really mundane as far as my experience.

But again, this is not exactly the same situation your OP posits.

I will say that under some circumstances, pure oxygen is a really, really, bad idea.

gabriela
08-02-2006, 04:07 AM
An interesting fact is that lack of oxygen gets you high.

Lack of oxygen (temporary and partial! Not total! Not total!) shows up in my practice in a couple of ways. One is autoerotic asphyxia. The idea of which is to half strangle yourself during masturbation at the moment you're coming. The reason for which is it is said to be a harder ejaculation because of the oxygen deprivation. (Indirect oxygen deprivation you're not allowing quite enough oxygen to get to the brain through the carotid arteries. It's got nothing to do with the trachea.)

The other is truly the Poor Man's High, or used to be. Once when I worked in a Southern city the police discovered the body of a man in a tiny room behind his garage. He had evidently built the room in himself using the flimsiest of sheetrock. All there was in the room was an air mattress, a breathing tube, and a canister of Freon. (His dad worked in air conditioning repair.)

The way Freon gets you high is sheer and simple displacement of air from your lungs. It's an inert and noble gas. It won't interact with anything in your blood to turn you on. But temporary, partial hypoxia is experienced by many as a short-lived high.

This is also behind the "choking game" that has taken a number of teenagers' lives recently. A friend of mine said that when she was ten or eleven, they played a simpler, less dangerous version of the game. The technique was to spin about until you were dizzy, then have another friend grab you around the chest from behind and squeeze. You'd half black out. Hypoxia and vertigo combined for a momentary high.

Ah, the eternal drive for intoxication. I was going to write "human drive" but remembered it's not limited to our little branch of the mammalian tree...

Alcohol (in careful quantities) is safer. But at least I can state by others' experience, not my own, that lack of oxygen gets you high; rather than oxygen.

Richard Pearse
08-02-2006, 04:53 AM
Remember the part in Fight Club where Brad Pitt's character explains that they have oxygen masks in airplanes because oxygen "gets you high" ?
This was done a little time ago, I'm trying to find it for you...

In the mean time, as the others have said, no it doesn't get you high. And if you consider that the pilots have to breath oxygen in some emergency situations as well as the passengers, you'd see that the concept, as portrayed in Fight Club, is a bit silly.

Link to previous thread: Any truth to Air Companies wanting to ease your final moment? (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=365112)

Blake
08-02-2006, 04:54 AM
Lack of oxygen (temporary and partial! Not total! Not total!) shows up in my practice in a couple of ways.

Total and permanent lack-of-oxygen cases tend to go straight to the morgue.

The way Freon gets you high is sheer and simple displacement of air from your lungs. It's an inert and noble gas. It won't interact with anything in your blood to turn you on. But temporary, partial hypoxia is experienced by many as a short-lived high.

This apparently isn't correct, as addressed by rfgdxm in a previous thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=328536).

Freons are toxic to humans by several mechanisms. Inhaled fluorocarbons sensitized the myocardium to catecholamines, frequently resulting in lethal ventricular arrhythmias. Because they are gases heavier than air, fluorocarbons can displace atmospheric oxygen, thus resulting in asphyxiation. These compounds also have a central nervous system (CNS) anesthetic effect analogous to a structurally similar general anesthetic, halothane. Pressurized refrigerant or liquid fluorocarbons with a low boiling point have a cyrogenic effect on exposed tissues, causing frostbite, laryngeal or pulmonary edema, and gastrointestinal perforation. Certain fluorocarbons degrade at high temperatures into toxic products of chlorine, hydrofluoric acid, or phosgene gases. /Freons/

[Haddad, L.M., Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Co., 1990. 1281]**PEER REVIEWED**
------

"These compounds also have a central nervous system (CNS) anesthetic effect analogous to a structurally similar general anesthetic, halothane."

That's what gets you high, not the lack of oxygen.

Hampshire
08-02-2006, 09:50 AM
Seeing that a lot of NFL players breath oxygen while sitting on the sidelines between plays would lead me to believe that it does not get you high.
I don't think the coach would want "high" players tring to run a complex offense.

CalMeacham
08-02-2006, 10:15 AM
Jules Verne wrote a story in which a "mad scientist" suffuses a town with pure oxygen, and it does affect everyone -- they feel more excited, more energetic. Maybe not "high", but definitely they feel something. Like all of Verne's stories, it's almost certainly based on some scientific work, but I don't know what work,. or how its veracity has fared since. The story, IIRC, is "Doctor Ox's Experiment" (You can read "Ox" as short for "Oxygen")



My own feeling is that I wouldn't want to be anywhere near this town. High oxygen content also tends to make things highly flammable, and makes them burn more intensely once lit.

Richard Pearse
08-02-2006, 10:29 AM
Another problem with the aeroplane myth is that the oxygen given to passengers is a trickle flow designed to keep them conscious. It is no more concentrated than air at sea level.

WhyNot
08-02-2006, 10:57 AM
If I might piggyback a question: what are the health effects of those oxygen bars, or breathing high concentrations of oxygen regularly?

I mean, obviously for patients in medical care, or for diving, there are some instances where a higher % of O2 is needed - the body can't absorb it as quickly as it needs to, so we give it more to absorb per breath.

But doesn't oxygen lead to...oxidation? What we take all those anti-oxidants to fight off? Could high levels of oxygen over a period of time lead to premature aging of cells?

Richard Pearse
08-02-2006, 11:34 AM
Oxygen at too high a pressure can be very bad for you. It seems to mainly be an issue for divers who are breathing air at abnormal pressures, and possibly for long term intensive care patients who are on 100% oxygen for extended periods.

This link about oxygen toxicity (http://members.tripod.com/tjaartdb0/html/oxygen_toxicity.html) should get you started.

And from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_toxicity).

LawMonkey
08-02-2006, 11:42 AM
An interesting fact is that lack of oxygen gets you high.

It certainly does. In my younger days, when two litres were a regular fixture at late night RPG sessions, I found recently emptied bottles to be a source of great entertainment--just wrap your lips round the bottle and take a good deep breath of the CO2. Got me all sorts of lightheaded until I took a few breaths of proper air.

Thankfully for me and my neurons, I don't have much truck with two litres any more, and the smaller twenty ounce bottles are a bit too rigid to take a good drag off of... :p

robby
08-02-2006, 12:07 PM
The way Freon gets you high is sheer and simple displacement of air from your lungs. It's an inert and noble gas.
Freon is fairly inert*, but it's absolutely not a noble gas.

Freon (http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blfreon.htm) is a trademark name for a class of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds first marketed by Du Pont back in 1930. CFCs are composed of chlorine, fluorine, carbon, and hydrogen.

The noble gases (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_gas) are the elements in Group 18 of the periodic table: helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon.

*Freons were widely used in industry because they were so unreactive and inert at room-temperature conditions. Only later did people discover that they break down in the upper atmosphere, producing atomic chlorine, which catalyzes the destruction of the ozone layer.

The Chao Goes Mu
08-02-2006, 12:24 PM
Great Og! They don't use pure oxygen on airplanes! Could you imagine the giant fireball in the sky if the plane were to catch fire and mix with the pure oxygen?

KABLAAAAAAM!

It's just regular air. Just like in the airtanks firefighters use.

ShibbOleth
08-02-2006, 12:35 PM
It is not exactly an answer to your question, but I have occasionally breathed pure oxygen at time in diving.



I'm fairly certain that you haven't. Normal diving just involves ordinary, compressed air. Diving to depth you can use a mix, but it is not pure oxygen. Enriched oxygen, yes, or with a higher helium content. But not pure oxygen.

Squink
08-02-2006, 01:28 PM
Great Og! They don't use pure oxygen on airplanes! Could you imagine the giant fireball in the sky if the plane were to catch fire and mix with the pure oxygen?

KABLAAAAAAM! ValuJet Flight 592 (http://cnn.com/US/9605/16/oxygen.generators/index.html): The hair spray-size generators produce oxygen by heating chemicals at close to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. They are activated when the firing pin is pulled, usually when a passenger pulls the mask from an overhead compartment.
Apparently the O2 generators that contributed to the crash of flight 592 were not in service, but improperly stored in the forward cargo hold (http://cnn.com/US/9605/15/valujet/index.html). However pure oxygen is generated by that face mask system. It may be mixed before reaching the passengers nose, I don't know, but it starts out as pure oxygen.

Clothahump
08-02-2006, 02:07 PM
It doesn't get you high. However, if you are tired to the point of exhaustion, a hit or two of high percentage oxygen will perk you up a fair amount, and that might be construed by some as a high.

flex727
08-02-2006, 04:38 PM
I'm fairly certain that you haven't. Normal diving just involves ordinary, compressed air. Diving to depth you can use a mix, but it is not pure oxygen. Enriched oxygen, yes, or with a higher helium content. But not pure oxygen.
Could LiveOnAPlane have been referring to a decompression chamber, I wonder?

ShibbOleth
08-02-2006, 05:22 PM
Could LiveOnAPlane have been referring to a decompression chamber, I wonder?

The "pure oxygen" environments I find reference to are:

1) Early NASA programs (Gemini and Apollo), but these were under low pressure.
2) Hyperbaric chambers (decompression chambers).
3) Military rebreathers for SCUBA missions.

Any of those is possible, none is probable for an average person.

From HowStuffWorks: Is it harmful to breathe 100% Oxygen? (http://science.howstuffworks.com/question493.htm)


...
Now let's look at the effects of breathing 100-percent oxygen. In guinea pigs exposed to 100-percent oxygen at normal air pressure for 48 hours, fluid accumulated in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and the epithelial cells lining the alveolus and pulmonary capillaries were damaged. This damage was probably caused by a highly reactive form of the oxygen molecule called the oxygen free radical, which destroyed proteins and membranes in the epithelial cells. In humans breathing 100-percent oxygen at normal pressure, the following effects were observed:

Pulmonary edema (intensive-care patients on breathing machines at 30 hours or more exposure)
Decreases in the rate of gas exchange across the alveoli (intensive-care patients on breathing machines at 30 hours of exposure)
Chest pains that were worse during deep breathing (volunteers with 24 hours of exposure)
Decrease in the total volume of exchangeable air in the lung (vital capacity) by 17 percent (volunteers with 24 hours of exposure)
Local areas of collapsed alveoli when plugged by mucus, a condition called atelectasis (patients, volunteers). The oxygen entrapped in the plugged alveolus gets absorbed into the blood, no gas is left to keep the plugged alveolus inflated and it collapses. Mucus plugs happen normally but are cleared by coughing. Also, if alveoli become plugged during air breathing, the nitrogen entrapped in the alveoli keeps them inflated.
blindness caused by inadequate development of the capillaries in the lens and retina of the eye (premature infants). Reducing the oxygen to 40 percent can prevent this blindness.

However, the astronauts in the Gemini and Apollo programs breathed 100-percent oxygen at reduced pressure for up to two weeks with no problems. In contrast, when 100-percent oxygen is breathed under high pressure (above 3000 torr), acute oxygen poisoning can occur with these symptoms:

nausea
dizziness
muscles twitches
blurred vision
seizures/convulsions

Such high oxygen pressures can be experienced by military SCUBA divers using rebreathing devices, divers being treated for the bends in hyperbaric chambers or patients being treated for acute carbon monoxide poisoning. These patients must be carefully monitored during treatment.

Richard Pearse
08-02-2006, 08:46 PM
Great Og! They don't use pure oxygen on airplanes! Could you imagine the giant fireball in the sky if the plane were to catch fire and mix with the pure oxygen?

KABLAAAAAAM!

It's just regular air. Just like in the airtanks firefighters use.
They do use pure oxygen. For the passengers it is mixed with ambient air. For the pilots it may be used at 100% or mixed with ambient air depending on the situation.

Note that this is for emergency depressurisation situations. For normal operations the cabin itself is pressurised with air.

shimmery
08-02-2006, 10:15 PM
And if you consider that the pilots have to breath oxygen in some emergency situations as well as the passengers, you'd see that the concept, as portrayed in Fight Club, is a bit silly.
Hm.. as I suspected!
Thanks for the responses, everyone :)

LiveOnAPlane
08-03-2006, 01:12 AM
I'm fairly certain that you haven't. Normal diving just involves ordinary, compressed air. Diving to depth you can use a mix, but it is not pure oxygen. Enriched oxygen, yes, or with a higher helium content. But not pure oxygen.
Sorry, I should have clarified that, but was trying to be brief.

By occasionally, I meant that sometimes after deep dives with a lot of bottom time, we'd breathe pure oxygen from a separate tank for a few minutes after surfacing. Supposedly, to help flush nitrogen from our systems...just a precaution.

I never meant I used pure O2 in my regular tank, and for the reasons mentioned above about breathing it under pressure.

Sorry for any confusion.

LiveOnAPlane
08-03-2006, 01:15 AM
Could LiveOnAPlane have been referring to a decompression chamber, I wonder?
Good Lord, no!!

I may have pushed the dive tables on occasion, but I never exceeded them. Never even came close to decompression sickness (the "bends").

flex727
08-03-2006, 09:20 AM
Good Lord, no!!

I may have pushed the dive tables on occasion, but I never exceeded them.
Yep, the dive computer - greatest invention since SCUBA itself. No more folling around with the stupid (overly conservative) tables.

Xema
08-03-2006, 12:37 PM
They don't use pure oxygen on airplanes! Could you imagine the giant fireball in the sky if the plane were to catch fire and mix with the pure oxygen?
To further clarify what others have noted: An airliner's cabin is pressurised (typically to an equivalent altitude of something like 7000 - 8000') with air - it would certainly be a bad idea (as well as massively impractical) to fill it with pure (or even with elevated levels of) oxygen.

But when supplemental oxygen is needed (as when an airliner's pressurization fails) what flows through a mask is nearly always pure oxygen. This is often somewhat diluted by ambient air because the mask isn't designed for a perfect seal.

I've used supplemental oxygen on many glider flights - it's required when you fly above 14,000', or above 12,500' for more than 30 minutes. I've never had any sense that it produces a "high", nor have I heard any glider pilot report this.

spingears
08-03-2006, 03:46 PM
Remember the part in Fight Club where Brad Pitt's character explains that they have oxygen masks in airplanes because oxygen "gets you high" ?Misinformation, hollywood BS.
Oxygen/oxygen masks are on airplanes to keep you alive if there is a loss of cabin pressure at high altitude.

PS you are already "high," 20 or 30,000 ft?

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