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General anaesthetics are less useful to a grinder than a local anaesthetic, as general anaesthesia renders an individual unable to perform his or her own medical procedures. For this reason, general anaesthetics should never be used when performing self-surgery. However, if the procedure is performed by another individual, general anaesthesia can be more effective than a local anaesthetic at mitigating pain.
Anaesthesiology is a complex medical science. The difference between a therapeutic dose and a lethal one can be very small; this is especially true with general anaesthesia. Without training, use of general anaesthesia should be avoided whenever possible and should only be considered after all other options have been examined. Research should always be conducted thoroughly and the greatest level of caution should always be observed prior to the use of any drug. If there is no other option for anaesthesia, cancelling the procedure should be given serious consideration before resorting to general anaesthetics.
Nitrous oxide is used as an anesthetic in certain medical procedures when inhaled. Inhalation of nitrous oxide produces a significant loss of coordination for the duration of intoxication; for this reason, it should only be used as anaesthesia if an individual other than the one using it is performing any medical procedure. As a general anaesthetic, nitrous oxide alone becomes less effective as the complexity of the procedure increases; nitrous oxide is used in dentistry as a twilight anaesthetic. However, during major medical procedures, the gas is relatively ineffective when used alone. For this reason, it is typically used as a precursor to the administration of a stronger general anaesthetic for major procedures.
Nitrous oxide is available for purchase as whipped cream chargers online or at food supply stores. It is important to be aware of what brand is being purchased, as there are possible dangers due to variable purity. Some of these dangers may be mitigated by placing a cloth over canisters as they are discharged. It is also important to never inhale the gas directly from a tank or canister, as its temperature will decrease significantly as the gas's pressure decreases when discharging from a high-pressure container to a low-pressure environment. The very low temperatures that result can cause major damage to the lips, tongue, mouth interior, and throat. Additionally, if the gas is inhaled directly, the pressure may not substantially decrease as it enters the lungs, potentially causing the lungs to collapse. Therefore, prior to use, nitrous oxide should be released into a balloon or other expandable container to allow for the gas's temperature to equalize with the ambient temperature and for the pressure to reach safe levels.
Nitrous oxide is potentially illegal when used in this manner unless prescribed by a practicing physician; Erowid offers some information regarding the laws in specific countries, but all laws should be confirmed with your local government, law enforcement, and law experts.
It is important to not confuse nitrous oxide with nitric oxide, a similar compound that can cause extensive tissue damage if used in a similar manner.