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What Are Cream Chargers and Are They Illegal?

Last updated Feb 9 2024 | Criminal Law

by Joseph Navas

by Joseph Navas

Director & Solicitor

In this article

What are some legitimate uses?

Whilst cream chargers have become infamous for their illicit use, there are many legitimate uses for them too.

The nitrous oxide from cream chargers can be used as an anaesthetic in medicineFirstly, in hospitals, mixing cream chargers with oxygen can act as an anaesthetic. Doctors and researchers specifically use these in pre-clinical and clinical research for therapeutic purposes (e.g. in severe antidepressants to treat alcohol withdrawal resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder.)

You can also use cream chargers in food additives – for example, propelling gas when making whipped cream. Nitrous oxide can also extract oils, fats and proteins from ingredients or can remove caffeine to make decaffeinated coffee.

Finally, car engines can use nitrous oxide to accelerate the combustion process, thus speeding up the car. This is common in car racing as it can act as a supercharging system for extra horsepower. Whilst this is currently still legal in the UK, it is dangerous.

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