Opium is an ancient substance, which dates back to 5000 BC. First of all, it is a powerful substance. You can derive it from the latex of the plant Lachryma papaverine.
More commonly, you know it as Poppy. People have been collecting it since as early as 1500 BCE. Throughout history, people has called it many different names. For example, they can be“the joy plant,” “miracle drug” and “God’s own medicine.” So, why was opium so revered throughout the centuries? It was essentially the very first substance which changed one’s perception of pain. In other words, it was the very first painkiller. They allowed wounded soldiers, as well as tired workers, to toil for long periods of time. As a result, this made them more productive.
There are some downsides of the drug use too. However, users did not know it back in the day. Seeing that, their focus was primarily on its benefits. They are the euphoric feeling (rush), anxiolytic and analgesic effects on the CNS. Of course, the lack of information about its use was extremely dangerous. This is due to its highly addictive, and therefore, lethal property. In fact, huge numbers of people became irreversibly addicted to this substance. It’s because the majority of people lacked adequate information about opium. Unfortunately, this led to countless untimely demises.
As science and medicine progressed, it revealed more and more side effects. Thus, leading to a very cautious and limited use of the drug, at least in medical treatment. Today, experts know that it has four natural derivatives. They are morphine, papaverine, codeine, and thebaine. Likewise, synthetic versions of the drug include hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl.
How to Make Opium?
You get the drug from the sap of the unripe Poppy plant. As you cut its stem or slit open, white sap oozes out of it. Later, it turns yellow or brown as it dries on the plant’s surface. After it has completely dried, they scrape the bitter-tasting substance off. This contains various alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, thebaine, and papaverine. One acre of the plant harvested this way produces roughly three to five kilograms of raw drug form. After, you can sell it right away, or refine it further.
Opium purification does not take arduous work or meticulous methods. Simple laboratories usually make use of an acid-based extraction. This way, they can refine the drug into morphine. A morphine base, which is a sticky, brown paste, is sun-dried after you press it into bricks. You can either smoke this form of it (even mixed with tobacco). Otherwise, it can go through various levels of purification to get heroin.
It is true that inhaling this drug is the most effective way to feel its impact almost right away. However, there are other methods of preparation. For example, you can have:
- Opium tincture (tinctura opii)
- Laudanum, paregoric (tinctura opii camphorata)
- Herbal wine
- Opium powder (pulvis opii)
- Opium syrup (sirupus opii)
- Pure opium extract (extractum opii)
You can make Vinum opii or Opium Wine by mixing sugar, white wine, cinnamon, and cloves. To make the syrup one has to combine 997.5 part sugar syrup with 2.5 parts opium extract. In this way, you can get opium extract (extractum opii) by saturating raw drug with water. During this process, you combine 20 parts water with 1 part raw opium. Finally, you just have to boil it for about 5 minutes.
What are Some Synthetic Opium-based Medication?
Nowadays, there are many opium-based prescription drugs. They are hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl. In fact, they are the most commonly used prescription drugs. They can help reduce pain and boost one’s mood. Fentanyl, for instance, was first introduced by Paul Janssen in 1960. It was when he was testing analogs of pethidine for opioid activity. Incidentally, they are structurally related. (Also, pethidine is more commonly known as Demerol.)
Today, fentanyl comes in various forms which include:
The most popular Fentanyl brand names include:
Let’s talk about Hydrocodone and Oxycodone. They make Hydrocodone from codeine. On the other hand, Oxy is a synthetic opioid. They derived it from the natural alkaloid found in the drug called thebaine.
Most popular hydrocodone names include:
- Lorcet Plus
Most popular Oxycodone names include:
Ultimately, opium remains one of the most potent painkillers. It is a famous drug to pharmacists and doctors all over the world. No doubt, this is a powerful substance. However, one should be very cautious when on this drug. First, it is due to its very addictive properties. Second, using it can cause hardship to many people. They have fought wars over this stuff.