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Ether
Basics
by Erowid
DESCRIPTION #
Diethyl ether is a highly volatile solvent. Like gasoline, it is a liquid which easily evaporates into a gaseous form and which is also highly flammable/explosive. It was used in the 19th and early 20th centuries as an anaesthetic though this is no longer true in the U.S.

Though recreational use is quite uncommon, diethyl ether has been used recreationally both orally (liquid) and inhaled (gas). Oral use has historically been in combination with alcohol, to reduce ether's burn in the mouth (see hoffmann's drops). Inhaled it is most commonly used by pouring it onto a rag and inhaling the fumes through the rag.
Dose #
Dose Summary Needed.
Price #
Price Summary Needed.
Law #
Ether is not a scheduled substance in the U.S. It is available in several over-the-counter products, especially for automotive use. However, inhaling automotive grade ether is a bad idea due to contaminents. Medical or research grade ether is difficult to find or acquire.
Chemistry Summary Needed.
Pharmacology #
Pharmacology Summary Needed.
Production #
Production Summary Needed.
Ether was first discovered in 1275 but was not commonly available until the mid 18th century. Touted for its ability to cause drunkeness (in travelling road shows called 'ether frolics' and as a medicinal cure, it didn't come into popular use as an anaesthetic until the late 1800s.
Terminology / Slang #
The Substance:
Ether; Diethyl Ether.
The Experience:
Huffing.
EFFECTS #
Dizzying intoxication, often with nausea at higher effects levels. Causes visual blurring. An auditory echoing effect is common. The strong solvent smell (reminscent of nail polish remover or a paint thinner with a sweeter tone) is often described as persistent after use.
Onset #
When inhaled, effects are nearly instantaneous.
Duration #
Effects from inhaling diethyl ether are relatively short-lived, though, as with many inhalants, users often repeatedly breathe the fumes over a period of time.
Visual Effects #
Blurring of vision is common.
PROBLEMS #
Problems Summary Needed.
Contraindications #
Contraindications Summary Needed.
Addiction Potential #
Addiction Potential Summary Needed.
Long Term Health Problems #
Long Term Health Problems Summary Needed.
Risk of Death #
Risk of Death Summary Needed.
CAUTION & DISCLAIMER #
Erowid Basics pages are summaries of data gathered from site visitors, government documents, books, websites, and other resources. We do our best to keep this information correct and up-to-date, but the field is complex and constantly changing. Information should always be verified through multiple sources.