Opium is the "concrete milky exudation obtained by incising the unripe capsules of Papaver somniferum (Fam. Papaveraceae), and yielding, in its normal moist condition, not less than 9 per cent, of morphine." It is simply the dried milk-juice which exudes from two or three encircling incisions made in the green poppy capsules of the common poppy as grown in oriental countries. The only opium that meets the U. S. P. requirements is that from Asia Minor, known as Turkish, or Smyrna opium. That used for smoking is less strong and comes mostly from India and China.

Opium is expensive and is much adulterated with vegetable debris, sand, earth, and even nails and bullets to increase its weight. It is of a gummy consistence from much moisture; but when the moisture is driven off by heat, it can be powdered or granulated. The dried opium is stronger by the amount of water driven off. For the manufacture of all the official preparations the Pharmacopoeia employs dried opium in the form of powdered opium (opii pulvis), or granulated opium (opium granulatum), and these are required by the Pharmacopoeia to assay from 12 to 12.5 per cent. of morphine.

The opium alkaloids are about 20 or more in number and constitute two chemical groups, the phenanthrene, represented by morphine and codeine, and the oxyquinoline, represented by papaverine and narcotine. They exist mostly as salts of meconic acid. None of these alkaloids are isolated and used except morphine, codeine, narcotine, and papaverine.

Besides the 12 to 12.5 per cent. of morphine, the dried opium contains 0.5 to 1.5 per cent. of codeine, 5 or 6 per cent. of narcotine (a nauseating principle), and the other alkaloids in small amounts. It contains neither starch nor tannic acid, and the presence of these would indicate adulteration.

Preparations And Doses

These are made from powdered opium (opii pulvis) or granulated opium (opium granulatum), containing 12 to 12.5 per cent. of morphine; dose, 1 grain (0.06 gm.), which contains 1/8 grain (0.008 gm.) of morphine.

Deodorized opium - of same strength as powdered opium, but with the narcotine and certain disagreeable odorous substances removed by benzin. Extract, containing 20 per cent. morphine. It is an aqueous extract, therefore contains only those parts of the opium that are soluble in water. Dose, 3/4 grain (0.045 gm.)-Powder of ipecac and opium (Dover's powder), 10 per cent.

of each. Dose, 10 grains (0.7 gm.). Tincture (laudanum), 10 per cent., and the deodorized tincture, 10 per cent. Dose of each, 10 minims (0.7 c.c.) containing 1/8 grain of morphine. Camphorated tincture (paregoric), 4: 1000. Dose, 1 dram (4 c.c.) = opium, 1/4 grain (0.015 gm.) = morphine, 1/32 grain (0.002 gm.). Lead and Opium Wash (Lotio Plumbi et Opii, N. F.) is made by adding the tincture of opium, 52 1/2 grains (3.5 c.c.), to a solution of lead acetate, 26 grains (1.75 gm.), in water sufficient to make the total measure 3 1/3 ounces (100 c.c). It is an irrational mixture, as the opium principles are not absorbed; its action is that of a lead salt. Some of the alkaloids or their salts are also employed, viz.: Codeine - soluble in 120 parts of water and in 2 of alcohol; codeine phosphate, soluble in 2.3 of water and 325 of alcohol; codeine sulphate, soluble in 30 of water and 1280 of alcohol. The pure alkaloid is best for use in alcoholic solution, and the phosphate for aqueous solution, as in hypodermic administration. Dose, 1/2 grain (0.03 gm.).

Morphine, not readily soluble in water; morphine hydrochloride, soluble in 17.5 of water and 52 of alcohol; and morphine sulphate, soluble in 15.5 of water and 565 of alcohol. One grain of morphine sulphate is equivalent to about J grain of pure morphine. Dose, \ grain (0.015 gm.)-Not recognized by the Pharmacopoeia are:

Compound morphine powder (Tully powder) containing 1.5 per cent. of morphine sulphate, with camphor, licorice, and chalk. Dose, 10 grains (0.7 gm.), i. e., about 1/7 grain (0.009 gm) of morphine sulphate. Magendie's solution, which is composed of one part of morphine sulphate in 30 of water, i. e., 5 minims = 1/6 grain of morphine sulphate. It slowly weakens and acquires a brown color, owing to the formation of oxydi-morphine. Narcophin, a combination of 33 per cent. of morphine meconate with 67 per cent. of narcotine meconate. Macht says that the narcotine seems to activate the morphine, so that the dose is that of morphine. Pantopon, a preparation purporting to be composed of the alkaloids of opium in the same proportion as in opium itself, but in 4 times the strength. Dose, twice that of morphine. Pleistopon, a similar preparation with the narcotine removed. Pharmacologic Action. - The work of Macht on combinations of the alkaloids suggests certain advantages in the use of opium or mixtures of alkaloids in preference to morphine. According to Pal, Macht, Jackson, and others the alkaloids of the phen-anthrene group (morphine, codeine, heroine, dionine) are prone to stimulate the smooth muscles of the hollow viscera, such as the bronchi, bladder, ureter, gall-bladder, intestines, uterus, and the ducts of the testes, while those of the oxy-quinoline group (papaverine, narcotine) relax smooth muscle. But Barbour obtained no effect from morphine on the uterus, and it scarcely seems that stimulation of smooth muscle can be a clinical effect of morphine. The action of morphine is as follows-:


Morphine has a very slight local action. Its control over pain is essentially central, therefore because it must be absorbed and must reach the centers before it can lessen pain, morphine or opium applied to a painful spot has no more power to relieve pain at that spot than a dose given by mouth; and, after local application, pain is relieved in distant parts of the body as readily as at the site of application. Hence the use of morphine or opium in dusting-powder, suppository, or ointment is irrational, is without advantage, and has the disadvantage of uncertainty of absorption.