Opium also known as poppy tears or lachryma papaveris comes from the dry latex on the opium poppy or (Papaver somniferum).
Why is Opium significant? Opium can be transform into narcotics that are very effective as pain killers like morphine that is commonly use in the hospital on most patients.
Opium has up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, it’s also processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex of the Opium also has codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine.
In order to get the latex, they would scratch the young seed pods or the (fruits) by hand and the latex leaks out and dries to a sticky yellowish residue that will be taking off of the fruit.
In our era, they would use machine to harvest the opium plants.
The production of opium is similar to the past. They’re more selective when it comes to breeding of the Papaver somniferum plant, the content of the phenanthrene alkaloids morphine, codeine, and to a lesser extent thebaine, has been greatly increased.
Thebaine, serves as the raw material for the synthesis for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and other semi-synthetic opiates, originates from extracting Papaver orientale or Papaver bracteatum.
Opium is also converted into heroin for illegal use. Heroin has much morepotency than that of morphine. Heroin can be taken by intravenous injection, intranasally, or smoked (vaporized) and inhaled. Opium is good for patients but bad for the general public who don’t need it.