Smoking Opium – What are the short and long-term effects?
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As a very fast method of taking a drug, smoking causes opium to hit the brain quickly. In general terms, opium is a sedative and an analgesic, or a pain reliever.
It slows down the parts of the brain that control automatic body functions such as breathing, digestion, allergic reaction, and feeling pain. Overall, there is a danger of overdose with first use. As a person’s breathing can slow too much, or even stop.
The liquid of the opium plant seed pod becomes a gummy substance when refined. As such,
to smoke opium, the raw material or a dried powder version of it is heated, and the released vapor is inhaled. Smoked opium travels quickly from the lungs to the brain.
10 Short-term effects of Smoking Opium
In the beginning, users feel euphoria or a high feeling of pleasure. Particularly, as the brain floods with opium, body functions slow down. A person feels drowsy and like they are a dream state.
Other short-term effects include:
- Breathing slows down
- Body temperature changes
- Pupils become pinpoints
- Pain goes away
- Slow movements
- Falling asleep or “nodding off.”
- No longer worry or feel anxiety
- Mental fog
- Nausea, vomiting
10 Long-term effects of Smoking Opium
The body quickly develops a tolerance to opium, needing more of the drug to achieve the first pleasurable state. The quest for pleasure and glee becomes a compulsion to get more opium. As a result, drug seeking behavior increases often leading a person to neglect other aspects of their health. Also, when taking more, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can occur as soon as a dose wears off. Avoidance of feeling sick creates more of a need for the drug.
Other long-term effects include:
- Increased toxins in the lungs due to smoking and contaminants in the opium or smoking tools.
- Chronic slowing of breathing can cause problems related to low blood oxygen.
- The weakening of the immune system causes users to get sick more often.
- Chronic skin flushing and itching because opium triggers the body to release histamines which cause allergic reactions.
- Sexual impotence.
- Rebound effect of increased anxiety
- Rebound effect of increased pain
- Mental fog stays around even when not using the drug
- Increased anger, irritability when withdrawal starts
- Risk of switching to stronger opiate drugs
As a sedative and pain reliever, opium causes body systems to slow down. Therefore, a person experiences a drowsy, dreamlike state with a decrease in feeling pain and anxiety. Risks include breathing slowing to a stop. Long term effects include health problems and increased drug seeking behavior due to tolerance and the need to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Kuhn, C., Swartzwelder, S., & Wilson, W. (2003). Buzzed: The straight facts about the most used and abused drugs from alcohol to ecstasy. 2nd edition. W.W. Norton & Company: New York
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