If pure oxygen gets you high how is air legal?

Obviously, it is not so easy to get pure oxygen from air - and air being necessary to life cannot be made illegal.

1) Pure oxygen can under certain circumstances lead to oxygen poisoning. Part of the symptoms is euphoria. However, some other symptoms are much less fun.

"Oxygen Poisoning at 90 ft (27 m) in the Dry in 36 Subjects in Order of Performance K W Donald

Exposure (mins.)Num. of SubjectsSymptoms

961Prolonged dazzle; severe spasmodic vomiting

60693Severe lip-twitching; Euphoria; Nausea and vertigo; arm twitch

50554Severe lip-twitching; Dazzle; Blubbering of lips; fell asleep; Dazed

31354Nausea, vertigo, lip-twitching; Convulsed

21306Convulsed; Drowsiness; Severe lip-twitching; epigastric aura; twitch L arm; amnesia

16208Convulsed; Vertigo and severe lip twitching; epigastric aura; spasmodic respiration;

11154Inspiratory predominance; lip-twitching and syncope; Nausea and confusion

6106Dazed and lip-twitching; paraesthesiae; vertigo; "Diaphragmatic spasm"; Severe nausea"

Source and further information:


2) "The human body is adapted to 21 percent oxygen, and the blood exiting the lungs already has about 97 percent of the oxygen that it could carry bound to hemoglobin. Having a higher oxygen fraction in the lungs serves no purpose, and may actually be detrimental. The medical profession warns that individuals with respiratory diseases such as asthma and emphysema should not inhale too much oxygen. Higher than normal oxygen partial pressure can also indirectly cause carbon dioxide narcosis in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The FDA warns that some flavoring methods use oils, which if used improperly, and droplets are inhaled, might contribute to an inflammation of the lungs. Some oxygen bar companies offer safe water-based aromas for flavoring in order to maintain compliance and stay within FDA guidelines.

Also, concentrated oxygen is a flame accelerant which should be kept away from cigarettes and other sources of ignition. Oxygen may also cause serious side effects at excessive doses. Although the effects of oxygen toxicity at atmospheric pressure can cause lung damage, the low fraction of oxygen (3040%) and relatively brief exposures make pulmonary toxicity unlikely. Nevertheless, due caution should be exercised when consuming oxygen. In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive publishes guidance on equipment (including tubing) and on staff training, as well as warning on potential hazards, and makes several recommendations to ensure safe practice, principally to minimise fire risks.

Another concern is the improper maintenance of oxygen equipment. Some oxygen concentrators use clay filters which cause micro-organisms to grow creating an additional danger that can cause lung infections."

Source and further information:


3) Further information:

- "Straight Dope: Does oxygen get you high?":


- "Answerbag: Is it true that breathing oxygen alone, can get you high?":


- "Oxygen Bars: Is a Breath of Fresh Air Worth It?":


- "Does oxygen get you high enough to keep you calm during a plane crash?":