Essay date: April 28, 2022

Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide

Can Laughing Gas Help People with Treatment-resistant Depression?  Only purblind reductionist science could ask such a question. Of course it would work!

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

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 enjoyable. 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 life. This despite the fact that a constitutional amendment allows for the unhindered use of alcohol that kills almost 100,000 Americans a year. This despite the fact that Americans still puff away freely on a drug that kills half a million of them every year. This despite the fact that Big Pharma advertises drugs on prime-time whose rare side effects even include death.

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 -- for materialist imbeciles, that is!

"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.

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


In a sane world, we'd package laughing gas for safe use and give it to the suicidal -- saying, "Use before attempting to kill yourself." But drug warriors would rather have suicide than drug use.
Laughing gas is the substance that gave William James his philosophy of reality. He concluded from its use that what we perceive is just a fraction of reality writ large. Yet his alma mater (Harvard) does not even MENTION laughing gas in their bio of the man.

This is why the foes of suicide are doing absolutely nothing to get laughing gas into the hands of those who could benefit from it. Laughing is subjective after all. In the western tradition, we need a "REAL" cure to depression.
This is why we would rather have a depressed person commit suicide than to use "drugs" -- because drugs, after all, are not dealing with the "real" problem. The patient may SAY that drugs make them feel good, but we need microscopes to find out if they REALLY feel good.
To understand why the western world is blind to the benefits of "drugs," read "The Concept of Nature" by Whitehead. He unveils the scientific schizophrenia of the west, according to which the "real" world is invisible to us while our perceptions are mere "secondary" qualities.
I don't want purblind researchers telling me when I am happy or optimistic. Materialist researchers need not apply, especially those so immersed in minutia that they cannot even figure out if laughing gas could help the depressed!
Caveat: the experimentation must be done holistically, and not with the presupposition that brain waves and molecular analysis is more important than my perceptions -- for my perceptions are what really matter viz. psychological health.
The drug war ideology of substance demonization actually outlaws such investigations. Why don't at least the saner half of the prohibitionists understand that this makes no sense in a purportedly free and scientific country?
I'd like to become a guinea pig for researchers to test the ability of psychoactive drugs to make aging as psychologically healthy as possible. If such drugs cannot completely ward off decrepitude, they can surely make it more palatable. The catch? Researchers have to be free.
The search for SSRIs has always been based on a flawed materialist premise that human consciousness is nothing but a mix of brain chemicals and so depression can be treated medically like any other physical condition.
But materialist puritans do not want to create any drug that elates. So they go on a fool's errand to find reductionist cures for "depression itself," as if the vast array of human sadness could (or should) be treated with a one-size-fits-all readjustment of brain chemicals.
There are endless drugs that could help with depression. Any drug that inspires and elates is an antidepressant, partly by the effect itself and partly by the mood-elevation caused by anticipation of use (facts which are far too obvious for drug warriors to understand).
Drug warriors have harnessed the perfect storm. Prohibition caters to the interests of law enforcement, psychotherapy, Big Pharma, demagogues, puritans, and materialist scientists, who believe that consciousness is no big "whoop" and that spiritual states are just flukes.
In other words, materialist scientists are drug war collaborators. They are more than happy to have their fight against idealism rigged by drug law, which outlaws precisely those substances whose use serves to cast their materialism into question.
In "The Book of the Damned," Charles Fort writes about the data that science has damned, by which he means "excluded." The fact that drugs can inspire and elate is one such fact, although when Fort wrote his anti-materialist broadside, drug prohibition was in its infancy.
"Can I use poppies, coca, laughing gas, MDMA?" "NO," says Jonathan Stea, "We must be SCIENTIFIC! We must fry your brain and give you a lobotomy and make you a patient for life with the psychiatric pill mill! That's true SCIENCE!"
David Chalmers says almost everything in the world can be reductively explained. Maybe so. But science's mistake is to think that everything can therefore be reductively UNDERSTOOD. That kind of thinking blinds researchers to the positive effects of laughing gas and MDMA, etc.
It's because of such reductive pseudoscience that America will allow us to shock the brains of the depressed but won't allow us to let them use the plant medicines that grow at their feet.
Weaponizing science is a bigger problem. Even as we speak, Laura Sanders of Sciam is promoting Shock Therapy 2.0 for the depressed, this in a world wherein reductive scientists aren't even sure that laughing gas will help the depressed.
That's why we damage the brains of the depressed with shock therapy rather than let them use coca or opium. That's why many regions allow folks to kill themselves but not to take drugs that would make them want to live. The Drug War is a perversion of social priorities.
If psychoactive drugs had never been criminalized, science would never have had any reason or excuse for creating SSRIs that muck about unpredictably with brain chemistry. Chewing the coca leaf daily would be one of many readily available "miracle treatments" for depression.

I guess the motto for their owner, Hubbard Broadcasting, is PANEM ET CIRCENSES, i.e., bread and circuses.
Breaking news : "McDonald's will stay open after petition gathered enough signatures!" If only WTOP would give such front-page coverage to petitions to end the drug war.
Over 45% of traumatic brain injuries are caused by horseback riding (ABC News). Tell your representatives to outlaw horseback riding and make it a federal offence to teach a child how to ride! Brought to you by the Partnership for a Death Free America.
Next essay: Moonfall
Previous essay: America's Imperialist Christian Science War on Drugs

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Keep Laughing Gas Legal
William James rolls over in his grave as England bans Laughing Gas
The Criminalization of Nitrous Oxide is No Laughing Matter
Speaking Truth to Academia
How the Drug War is Threatening Intellectual Freedom in England
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(seemingly useful organizations)

Sana Collective
Group committed to making psychedelic therapy available to all regardless of income.

You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.

A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.

The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").

(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)

In short, the drug war causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)

If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.

PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."

Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)

Selected Bibliography

  • Bandow, Doug "From Fighting The Drug War To Protecting The Right To Use Drugs"2018
  • Barrett, Damon "Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Polices on Young People"2011 IDEBATE Press
  • Bernays, Edward "Propaganda"1928 Public Domain
  • Bilton, Anton "DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule"2021 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Boullosa , Carmen "A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the 'Mexican Drug War'"2016 OR Books
  • Brereton, William "The Truth about Opium / Being a Refutation of the Fallacies of the Anti-Opium Society and a Defence of the Indo-China Opium Trade"2017 Anna Ruggieri
  • Burns, Eric "1920: The year that made the decade roar"2015 Pegasus Books
  • Carpenter, Ted Galen "The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America"2012 Cato Institute
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Gianluca, Toro "Drugs of the Dreaming: Oneirogens"2007 Simon and Schuster
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Grof, Stanislav "The transpersonal vision: the healing potential of nonordinary states of consciousness"1998 Sounds True
  • Head, Simon "Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans"2012 Basic Books
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Illich, Ivan "Medical nemesis : the expropriation of health"1975 Calder & Boyars
  • Irwin-Rogers, Keir "Illicit Drug Markets, Consumer Capitalism and the Rise of Social Media: A Toxic Trap for Young People"2019
  • James, William "The Varieties of Religious Experience"1902 Philosophical Library
  • Lindstrom, Martin "Brandwashed: tricks companies use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy"2011 Crown Business
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Miller, Richard Lawrence "Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State"1966 Bloomsbury Academic
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Nagel, Thomas "Mind and Cosmos: why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false"2012 Oxford University press
  • Newcombe, Russell "Intoxiphobia: discrimination toward people who use drugs"2014
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rosenblum, Bruce "Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness"2006 Oxford University Press
  • Rudgley, Richard "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances"2014 Macmillan Publishers
  • Shulgin, Alexander "PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story"1991 Transform Press
  • Shulgin, Alexander "The Nature of Drugs Vol. 1: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact"2021 Transform Press
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief"0
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Physics: A Science in Quest of an Ontology"2022
  • St John, Graham "Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT"2021
  • Szasz, Thomas "Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt"0
  • Wedel, Janine "Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom and Politics and Created an Outsider Class"2014 Pegasus Books
  • Weil, Andrew "From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs"2004 Open Road Integrated Media
  • Whitaker, Robert "Mad in America"2002 Perseus Publishing
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at