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Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

April 28, 2022

he title of the Forbes article made me laugh: "Can Laughing Gas Help People with Treatment-resistant Depression?"1

2024 update from author: click here

A truly depressed person would never ask such a question. Of course it would help! Whether it would be a cure-all is another question, of course, but it would HAVE TO HELP, by definition. It would not necessarily help in the way that chart-bound scientists would like, in a way that could be "proven" reductively -- but rather it would help by 1) giving the depressed reliable vacations from introspective gloom, and 2) by giving the depressed something to look forward to, which would make their non-drug-using time more endurable, if not enjoyable2. This is all just basic psychological common sense, but it is common sense that reductive science has lost track of when it asks such naive questions as, "Can Laughing Gas Help People with Treatment-resistant depression?"

But laughter gave way to groans when I read the closing line of the Forbes article on nitrous oxide, in which Dr. Glatter opines:

"Like other substances in it's (sic) class, there is an abuse potential, so benefits would also have to outweigh the harm."

In other words, I'll have to live until I'm 128 years old for science to finally allow me to use a treatment that common sense tells me (and all other true depressives like me) would be a godsend here and now, both thanks to its immediate effects and to the positive feelings that anticipation of use would generate.

This despite the fact that the FDA greenlights the psychiatric pill mill to which 1 in 4 American women are addicted for life3. This despite the fact that a constitutional amendment allows for the unhindered use of alcohol that kills almost 140,000 Americans a year4. This despite the fact that Americans still puff away freely on a drug that kills half a million of them every year5. This despite the fact that Big Pharma advertises drugs on prime-time whose rare side effects even include death0583.

But as for folks like myself, we'll just have to bide our time while the clueless reductionist researchers at the FDA try to figure out if laughing gas can help the depressed. Yes, what a real head scratcher!

"No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. How to regard them is the question--for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness." -- William James.

The above was Brian's feedback on the article by Robert Glatter MD entitled 'Can Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide) Help People With Treatment-Resistant Depression?' from June 9, 2021.

May 25, 2022

There's another fundamental problem with the article: the use of the term "treatment-resistant depression" suggests that there's a cure out there that works just fine for depression, thank you very much, but some folks inexplicably do not respond to it. The real state of affairs is far gloomier: there are hundreds of potential cures out there, almost all of which have been outlawed by the federal government, and all that's legal are highly dependence-causing meds that conduce to anhedonia in long-term users. The fact is, we have no way of diagnosing treatment-resistant depression in the age of the Drug War. When we say that a person's depression is treatment-resistant in this age of enforced Christian Science for mood medicine, it's like saying that a person is treatment-resistant for headaches in a country that has outlawed aspirin. In reality, we have no idea if they are treatment resistant, because we have outlawed the best treatments. Using the term "treatment-resistant" is just a way of flattering Big Pharma, by implying that they have the cure -- except that certain freaks out there do not quite respond to it correctly.

It's a convenient way for Drug Warriors to feel good about the corrupt status quo.

Having spent a lifetime on these non-inspiring meds thanks to Drug Warrior lies and materialist-reductionist double standards, it's irritating to hear these noxious pills being implicitly praised like this.

Brian's admittedly charming article raises the following question: why are the depressed not considered major stakeholders when it comes to the decisions we make about legalizing medicines? Why this purblind focus on a distinct minority of juvenile delinquents? And whence comes this knee-jerk compulsion to respond to our Chicken Little fears by crafting drug laws? Why don't we craft education campaigns instead, using the money that we save on housing drug "misusers" in prisons?

June 1, 2022

Just answered one of my own questions: Why are the depressed not considered major stakeholders when it comes to legalizing medicines like MDMA and laughing gas? Because the Drug War is political, and therefore the FDA has to worry about sensational media stories about a handful of irresponsible kids misusing a substance. They know that drug-war politicians would parley such stories into a hue and cry about "drugs, drugs, drugs." As for the hundreds of millions of depressed around the world, the FDA doesn't care about them because the newspapers don't report on the silent despair of the millions, just on the outlandish highly visible hijinx of a few. In other words, millions of depressed have to wait until the day when idiotic behavior ceases altogether -- which is why laughing gas is forbidden me, MDMA is forbidden me, psychedelic plants are forbidden me, the Incan god called coca is forbidden me. All so that the FDA can please the racist and pharmacologically clueless politicians.

TWEET TO DR. GLATTER, June 16, 2022: The politicized drug approval process for treatments like N20 makes regulators indifferent to the quiet suffering of the millions, because they know that just a few rare cases of abuse by young people can be parlayed into a crisis by Drug War demagogues.

Author's Follow-up: August 20, 2022

When thinking about how scientists ask silly questions like, "Can laughing gas help the depressed?", I'm reminded of the (in)famous quote about modern scientists from evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin:

We take the side of science in spite of the
patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill
some of its extravagant promises for health and life, in spite of the
tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories,
because we have a prior commitment to materialism. It is not that the
methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material
explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are
forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of
investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no
matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.
Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in
the door.


1) And by "Divine Foot," Lewontin means "any teleology whatsoever." A fact that scientists are seldom clear about in their popular writings, for obvious commercial reasons. For who wants to read a book about the glories of nature wherein the author keeps reminding the reader: "There's nothing to see here, of course. All this apparent ebullience of flora and fauna is just the inevitable predetermined result of mindless processes in a clockwork universe that couldn't care less about our interest in it."

2) "no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated." Lewontin might have added, "No matter how frustrating for those who have to suffer unnecessarily for decades while materialists like Lewontin find a scientifically kosher way to wrap their heads around a hitherto obvious fact: namely that a drug that makes people happy actually makes people happy!"

Author's Follow-up: November 16, 2022

The problem here is that scientists are statistically challenged. When they talk about the harms of drug use, they are never considering all the stakeholders. Instead, they speak as if they need merely identify a small percent of teens who will potentially misuse a substance in order to declare that the substance is unsafe. But safety should be measured in context. The scientists need to consider the millions who would use the substance safely and who will suffer immensely (albeit in silence) if the substance is NOT legalized. But science is politicized by the drug so no researcher wants to advocate a policy that will generate bad headlines, like: "Five teens killed by misusing a newly legalized medicine! Maybe so? But what about the MILLIONS of smart users who benefited greatly from the same substance???

Related tweet: January 13, 2023

The use of laughing gas changed William James' ideas about the very nature of reality. To outlaw such substances is to outlaw human advancement.

Author's Follow-up: June 1, 2023

The good doctor says benefits have to outweigh the harms before he will sign off on the use of laughing gas. What he means is, if a statistical handful of the uneducated can find a way to misuse it, hundreds of millions of the depressed must do without it.

Nitrous Oxide: Possession of laughing gas to be criminal offence"

Related tweet: June 28, 2023

Scientists are censored as to what they can study thanks to drug law. Instead of protesting that outrage, they lend a false scientific veneer to those laws via their materialist obsession with reductionism, which blinds them to the obvious godsend effects of outlawed substances.

Author's Follow-up: January 16, 2024

picture of clock metaphorically suggesting a follow-up

Glatter says "benefits would have to outweigh the harms" before we consider the use of laughing gas -- but this is a cost/benefit analysis that science is not capable of making. For science is hopelessly naive about the full range of benefits and risks. He does not consider the risk of depriving the suicidal of laughing gas. He does not consider the risks to society and futurity of outlawing a substance that inspired the philosophy of William James. He does not consider the risks posed by forcing people to live a life without happiness because all godsends have been outlawed. He does not consider the anti-democratic implications of outlawing substances that provide many people with spiritual insight -- he does not consider the harm caused by outlawing religions based on such feelings.

These are not scientific questions -- Glatter has no standing in such a discussion. These are questions about the rights of human beings and about what should be our priorities in life: namely, freedom of thought, freedom of academia, freedom of religion -- and alternatives to committing suicide!!! And Glatter thinks we may need to outlaw such substances -- which are already shamefully unavailable, as a practical matter, for would-be suicides. All severely depressed people should be given laughing gas kits in the same way that we give epi pens to those with serious allergies.

Yet materialist scientists continue to drag their feet, refusing to give their unqualified endorsement of a godsend -- not to mention a drug that told William James so much about the world. And Glatter thinks we may need to outlaw such substances -- which are already shamefully unavailable, as a practical matter, for would-be suicides. All severely depressed people should be given laughing gas kits in the same way that we give epi pens to those with serious allergies. Yet materialist scientist continue to drag their feet, refusing to give their unqualified endorsement of a godsend -- not to mention a drug that told William James so much about the world. And yet Rinvoq, the most publicized drug on TV, brazenly announces that its side effects INCLUDE DEATH! End the GINORMOUS hypocrisy. Stand up for the severely depressed. Stop this nonsensical talk about cost-benefit analyses.

The legality and availability of such substances is a matter of basic human principles and basic human priorities -- we need no chart-wielding scientists to tell us if we can be a free country or not and respect human needs and aspirations. Scientists need to butt out of such discussions.


1 Can Laughing Gas Help People with Treatment Resistant Depression?, Forbes Magazine, 2021 (up)
2 Quass, Brian, The Therapeutic Value of Anticipation, 2020 (up)
3 Quass, Brian, The War on Drugs and the Psychiatric Pill Mill, 2023 (up)
4 Deaths from Excessive Alcohol Use in the United States, 2022 (up)
5 Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States, (up)

Next essay: Moonfall
Previous essay: America's Imperialist Christian Science War on Drugs

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William James Tweets

William James knew that there were substances that could elate. However, it never occurred to him that we should use such substances to prevent suicide. It seems James was blinded to this possibility by his puritanical assumptions.
So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.

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front cover of Drug War Comic Book

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by the Drug War Philosopher Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans

You have been reading an article entitled, Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide published on April 28, 2022 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)