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Author: Subject: Compounds which cause rapid dizziness
CrimpJiggler
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[*] posted on 31-12-2014 at 09:37
Compounds which cause rapid dizziness


When I was a kid and we first started drinking, we used to like to get our hands on a cigarette because it would give us a "nicotine rush". Nowadays that e-cigarettes are available, anyone can see for themselves that nicotine has nothing to do with that dizziness. Well, tobacco contains many more compounds than nicotine, including an MAO inhibitor (which amplifies some of nicotines effects) but if I was to take a guess, I'd say this dizziness is caused by carbon monoxide which is present as a combustion product.

Since CO displaces the oxygen binded to red blood cells, it makes sense it causes dizziness. I get the same kind of dizziness if I have low blood pressure and stand up to fast.

Anyhow, I'm wondering what other gaseous/volatile compounds can cause this effect. I accidentally got a strong whiff of chloroform a while ago and I got that characteristic dizzy rush. When I say strong whiff, I mean a proper breath full. It worried me since I have never heard of that being an effect of chloroform so I suspect it was an impurity that caused it. Phosghene doesn't cause symptoms like that I don't believe, phosgene attacks the lungs especially and symptoms might not appear for up to 24 hours.

I believe cyanide has a similar mechanism of action to CO. Does accidental inhalation of HCN gas cause dizziness/loss of consciousness like that? I've never had to deal with HCN myself, but hear its pretty dodgy stuff so I assume it must be toxic in very small quantities like CO. There couldn't have been any HCN present in the chloroform I was handling. I don't see why CO would be present either. Besides those two, I can't think of any gases or vapours that would cause that effect. The effect lasted about 3 seconds, it was scary at the time since I didn't know why it was happening. It was less extreme than the head rush I tend to get if I stand up too quickly with low blood pressure.

I've intentionally inhaled helium before so I know that doesn't cause dizziness even though it must reduce oxygen bioavailability temporarily. Xenon gas is actually used as an anaesthetic interestingly enough. So I assume that for a gas to cause this head rush effect, it must have some kind of mechanism the causes it to rapidly reduce oxygen availability to the brain. Besides knocking the oxygen off red blood cells, do you know of any other ways a toxin can do that?
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careysub
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[*] posted on 31-12-2014 at 10:36


Quote: Originally posted by CrimpJiggler  

...

Anyhow, I'm wondering what other gaseous/volatile compounds can cause this effect. I accidentally got a strong whiff of chloroform a while ago and I got that characteristic dizzy rush. When I say strong whiff, I mean a proper breath full. It worried me since I have never heard of that being an effect of chloroform so I suspect it was an impurity that caused it. Phosghene doesn't cause symptoms like that I don't believe, phosgene attacks the lungs especially and symptoms might not appear for up to 24 hours. [/rquote]

Any inhalation anaesthetic has the potential for causing immediate dizziness upon taking a good breath of it.

Phosgene has no direct effect on mental functioning (only when your lungs stop providing you with oxygen after a day or so is their an effect on your brain).

[quote[
I believe cyanide has a similar mechanism of action to CO. Does accidental inhalation of HCN gas cause dizziness/loss of consciousness like that?


Yep. In fact there is probably no faster acting agent in existence. A good breath of HCN could knock you down in 15 seconds, or less, without even being able to utter a cry for help.

The KGB developed a spring-loaded assassination device that took advantage of this. It fired an aerosol of HCN into a persons face (especially through his nose) so that the target just keeled right over.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohdan_Stashynsky

Quote:
I've never had to deal with HCN myself, but hear its pretty dodgy stuff so I assume it must be toxic in very small quantities like CO.


At the appropriate concentration, it is ten times as toxic as CO.

Quote:
There couldn't have been any HCN present in the chloroform I was handling. I don't see why CO would be present either. Besides those two, I can't think of any gases or vapours that would cause that effect. The effect lasted about 3 seconds, it was scary at the time since I didn't know why it was happening. It was less extreme than the head rush I tend to get if I stand up too quickly with low blood pressure.


It was the chloroform itself that is probably responsible. Its anesthetic effects are common knowledge (and actually true, unlike some 'common knowledge').

I whiffed some once, and felt an immediate numbness of my face that passed quickly.

Quote:
I've intentionally inhaled helium before so I know that doesn't cause dizziness even though it must reduce oxygen bioavailability temporarily.


Sure - there is either no, or neglible, oxygen in helium (depending on source). But breathing helium flushes out CO2 so that you don't feel the effect of suffocation. If you keep it up you will black out.

Quote:
Xenon gas is actually used as an anaesthetic interestingly enough. So I assume that for a gas to cause this head rush effect, it must have some kind of mechanism the causes it to rapidly reduce oxygen availability to the brain. Besides knocking the oxygen off red blood cells, do you know of any other ways a toxin can do that?


CO blocks oxygen delivery to the brain (and elsewhere).
HCN shuts down oxidative metabolism inside the cell (and so its effect is even faster).
Anesthetics do not cause oxygen deprivation, they interfere in some way with the neurons function directly, inhibiting transmission of impulses. There is a wide range of possible mechanisms involved, and detailed understanding how different anesthetics work is still in development.
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[*] posted on 3-1-2015 at 17:56


While I appreciate another excellent post (per usual) by Careysub, I'll mince words and claim that general anesthetics may cause hypoxia, but this is not generally considered a mechanism of action for induction or maintenance of anesthesia. Severe hypoxia, often defined as a patient oxyhemoglobin saturation level (SpO2) of 60-40%, can cause loss of consciousness, which is essentially the clinical manifestation of anesthesia. This correlates well with various brain regions' mean survival times under blood/oxygen deprivation. Similar effects can be seen with vasodilation, or hypotension. Ask someone with orthostatic hypotension to stand too quickly, and they will feel lightheaded, and possibly faint. Depending on your exact metric, this could constitute anesthesia.

However, this is not a relevant effect of any medical anesthetics as the two main mechanisms of analgesia and subsequent anesthesia for safe, reproducible anesthesia are 1) receptor mediated, and/or 2) CNS membrane-fluidity mediated.
Many general anesthetics combine aspects of both, as penetration of the blood brain barrier requires sufficiently lipophilic compounds to have influence on membrane fluidity.

Local anesthetics are another manner, and are taught to be essentially only receptor mediated.

If you're interested in dizzying compounds, then perhaps the historical usage of vasodilating alkyl nitrite "poppers."
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[*] posted on 3-1-2015 at 20:15


Chloroform was the choice anaesthetic of WW1 for soldiers who didn't smoke. The smokers often did not absorb it enough and had to be locally anaesthetised.
along with ether it was used by insect collectors as well as it is fatal if exposure is long.
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[*] posted on 4-1-2015 at 00:47


Trichloromethane by itself will cause dizziness, though intentional inhalation is to be avoided. It metabolize into some pretty nasty stuff, and your liver will pay the price.

"Chloroform is metabolized in the liver by the cytochrome P-450 enzymes, by oxidation to phosgene and by reduction to the dichloromethyl free radical. Other metabolites of chloroform include chloromethanol, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen chloride, and digluathionyl dithiocarbonate, with carbon dioxide as the predominant end product of metabolism"

The wiki article contains more details...
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloroform

Ethoxyethane, AKA, diethyl ether can be easily prepared with conc. sulfuric acid, absolute ethanol, and a distillation rig. It also is a strong and fast acting intoxicant, and safer than chloroform, though I still wouldn't recommend deliberately inhaling it.

Neither of these anesthetics of antiquity are as fast acting as HCN, of course, but the danger of both is greatly less than that of HCN.


I once had a minor accident involving an ammonium sulfide solution, and as a result I got a strong wiff of what I can only assume was hydrogen sulfide. I was very dizzy, very fast, among other unpleasant side effects.


[Edited on 4-1-2015 by Bot0nist]




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[*] posted on 4-1-2015 at 05:11


I don't recommend using chloroform or any narcotizing agents outside of a medical setting, just in case any reader wishes to infer this, but it should probably be said the inhalational risks for chloroform other than acute overdose are considered relatively low for a variety of reasons such as rapid elimination despite poor n-values on reference dosing and a lack of dose-response curves.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.1964.tb03675.x measured hepatocellular damage as a function of serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase concentration and determined the "majority of patients' anesthesia was adequately maintained [note not induced] on 1.5% [inhaled] chloroform." Duration of administration was 3-10 minutes. This 1.5% constitutes a 15000ppm concentration, smack in the middle of the EPA 1,500-30,000ppm anesthesia range.
The EPA has a good summary, including NIOSH, OSHA, and elsewhere numbers if interested.
http://www.epa.gov/ttnatw01/hlthef/chlorofo.html

Additionally, any pharmacokinetics are very nuanced in their methodologies and implications for organ specific impact. In the case of chloroform, nephrotoxicity is one such factor that appears to occur from localized CYP-450 isozymes. Though PMID 2339423 is extrapolatory, it also seems to place context on some of the metabolic aspects of chloroform exposure as it predicts bioavailabilities to specific organs as well as metabolic rate constants.

All that said, I try to mitigate chloroform exposure as most any organic solvent... particularly halogenated organic solvents, in part because the ATSDR numbers are likely more relevant to me.
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[*] posted on 16-1-2015 at 23:20


Also the ecigarette reference in the beginning of the thread seems subjectively off base to me personally. I switched to electronic cigarettes and when I first tried a nicotine concentration that was greater than my cigarette equivalent I was stuck to my bed feeling quite ill/dizzy. Though I do agree quantifying the effect of cigarette inhalation should not be limited to nicotine alone.

The recommendation of HCN to induce dizziness seems a little more than off base to me... I feel like other effects from that compound would be realized sooner than a loss of balance or a room spinning effect.


Quote: Originally posted by diddi  
Chloroform was the choice anaesthetic of WW1 for soldiers who didn't smoke. The smokers often did not absorb it enough and had to be locally anaesthetised.
along with ether it was used by insect collectors as well as it is fatal if exposure is long.


That is very interesting. I work with chloroform very frequently for my home university research project largely outside of a fume hood. Many of my 'colleagues' can't stand the stuff but I am pretty unaffected by it. However, the effects I have felt from chloroform were not really of 'dizziness'.

The closest effect I have felt to dizziness was definitely from ethanol intoxication with the room spinning effect and almost always lead to nausea. I imagine that is due to the dissociative type effects from ethanol. Dissociatives could also likely lead to the disorientation induced in a 'dizzy state' I would imagine.




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[*] posted on 16-1-2015 at 23:38


I have to admit that I do not understand the intent or question of your post Crimp.

There are thousands of compounds that will either knock a person flat or strike them dead as Uncle Bob.

I work in Marine Fabrication for a living, and I can tell you for certain... You don't need or want to be breathing anything that you are not 100% sure is benign.
I can't see where a lung full of Chromium is going to do you any good.
I'm only saying this because I obviously missed the point of your post, and respirators/fume hoods should be the very first item one acquires IMHO.

If your intent was to compile a list of potentially noxious compounds... I don't know but perhaps the internet does not have enough storage space to list them all.

Excuse me for not getting it.:(




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[*] posted on 17-6-2015 at 06:47


Well,I when I was 10y/o I got high on CO2.I shaken up a bottle of carbonated water,sniffed the CO2 and blown out.Repeated until no more CO2 left in the water.Blown out the CO2 from my lungs,waited 10 secs and get a HUGE breath of air.It made a really good feeling.
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[*] posted on 17-6-2015 at 08:09


Just made some isopropyl nitrite and breathing that in leads to a mild strange effect. It's not so much dizziness as a headrush. Not pleasant or unpleasant, it feels for me at least like... ok you know that shot in movies where the camera pulls back and zooms in at the same rate? www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB4bikrNzMk Yeah, it feels like that. but, very mild.

Overdoing it gives a headache though, which is unpleasant for sure.
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[*] posted on 17-6-2015 at 09:17


Butane or isobutane cause dizziness very similar to chloroform. Repeated use increases tolerance much faster than chloroform, and is likely more dangerous for that reason.
Upon telling this to a junkie, I was informed that gasoline vapor have the same effect. I've tried butane and chloroform, never gas of course.
Point is, you can always find something that works, it's just hard to find one that wont kill you.:cool:




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papaya
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[*] posted on 17-6-2015 at 15:29


Butane? How alkanes (quite unreactive) supposed to have any effects?
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[*] posted on 17-6-2015 at 18:44


Quote: Originally posted by papaya  
Butane? How alkanes (quite unreactive) supposed to have any effects?


Oxygen deprivation?




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[*] posted on 17-6-2015 at 19:08


Quote: Originally posted by kecskesajt  
Well,I when I was 10y/o I got high on CO2.I shaken up a bottle of carbonated water,sniffed the CO2 and blown out.Repeated until no more CO2 left in the water.Blown out the CO2 from my lungs,waited 10 secs and get a HUGE breath of air.It made a really good feeling.


CO2 nearly causes a panic attack when I breath it. Apparently that isn't uncommon, though it also isn't universal CO2/O2 mixtures have been used with some success in psychotherapy, says Wikipedia (We also use it as an anesthetic for fruit flies at work)

Quote:

Butane? How alkanes (quite unreactive) supposed to have any effects?


Perhaps they dissolve in the lipid membranes of neurons, altering their properties?

In any case, the solvents vault might be one of the saddest parts of Erowid. I don't suggest adding more data to it.

[Edited on 18-6-2015 by mayko]




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