OCD Treatment Study

Researchers at Stanford University are partnering with individuals diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) to evaluate whether nitrous oxide can provide rapid symptom relief. Join our research study today!

Fast Facts

living with oCD

not currently taking medication

18-65 years Old

Conducted in Stanford, CA

Study Background

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic and distressing psychiatric condition characterized by intrusive thoughts or images (obsessions) and repetitive or ritualized behaviors (compulsions) performed to relieve obsession-related anxiety.

OCD is a significant cause of mental health-related disability and is inadequately served by available treatments.

Our study aims to assess the efficacy of inhaled nitrous oxide gas (N20), also known as “laughing gas”, for rapid symptom relief in OCD.

Your participation in this study may help researchers improve treatment approaches for OCD. Further research today and join our study!

Additional Information

The purpose of this research study is to explore the efficacy of nitrous oxide for rapid symptom relief in OCD.

You may qualify for this study if you meet the following criteria.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • 18-65 years old
  • Diagnosed with or experiencing symptoms of OCD
  • Not taking psychotropic medication for the past 6 weeks or having started OCD-targeted Exposure and Response Prevention (ExRP) psychotherapy within 2 months
  • History of at least one standard first one treatment for OCD (e.g. SRI or ExRP psychotherapy), or refused these treatments for individual reasons (e.g. concerned about side effects)
  • Fluent in English
  • Able to provide informed consent
  • Able to tolerate study procedures, including nitrous oxide


Exclusion Criteria:

  • Current psychosis or bipolar disorder
  • Currently experiencing suicidal behaviors
  • Current moderate or severe substance use disorders
  • Allergy or hypersensitivity to nitrous oxide
  • Medical illness that could interfere with study participation or use of nitrous oxide, including but not limited to:
    • megaloblastic anemia, myelopathy, chronic disturbances of folate metabolism, middle ear occlusion, elevated intracranial pressure, and significant pulmonary disease (e.g. reactive airway disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], restrictive lung disease)
  • Use of medications that might increase risk of participation
  • Pregnancy or nursing
  • Positive urine screen for illicit drugs

Participation may involve up to 13 study visits. These include:

  • Screening
  • Baseline: Questionnaires & assessments, blood pressure & heart rate measurements, drug & pregnancy tests, computer tasks to test your thinking
  • Administration: inhalation of the study treatment for one hour (randomly assigned nitrous oxide gas or placebo air, with 2:1 ratio of nitrous oxide to placebo), EEG (brain-wave) recording, a blood draw and physical and psychiatric exams
  • Follow-up assessments

Some participants may complete a second phase of the study where they repeat the baseline, nitrous oxide inhalation, and follow-up visits.

There is no cost for you to participate in this study.