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Opium Poppy. Opium Poppy: Papaver somniferum. Member of the Papaveraceae, poppy family Description Latex History. Fresh capsule of opium poppy. Cut capsule showing latex exuding from cut. Ancient medical use. Babylonia, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations

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opium poppy papaver somniferum
Opium Poppy: Papaver somniferum
  • Member of the Papaveraceae, poppy family
  • Description
  • Latex
  • History
slide3

Fresh capsule of opium poppy

Cut capsule showing latex exuding from cut

ancient medical use
Ancient medical use
  • Babylonia, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations
  • Hippocrates, Theophrastus, Dioscorides, and Galen
  • Methods
    • Opium eaten, drunk, and smoked
    • Opium wine
  • Artifacts from ancient societies
opium alkaloids
Opium Alkaloids
  • Morphine and codeine most important
  • Heroin – a semi-synthetic derivative of morphine - diacetyl morphine
    • Illegal in US since 1914 (Harrison Act)
mode of action of opiates
Mode of action of opiates
  • Bind to opiate receptors in membrane of neurons of the brain and spinal column (ID’d in 1970s)
  • The natural ligands are endorphins and enkephalins which are released at synapses
    • Inhibit “Substance P”
opiate receptors
Opiate receptors
  • m (mu) receptors - analgesia, euphoria
  • k (kappa) receptors - sedation, spinal cord analgesia
  • d (delta) receptors - Antitussive (coughing) properties, emesis (vomiting), and anticholinergic (constipation)
  • sigma receptors - cardiac stimulation no longer considered an opiate receptor