- An addictive narcotic drug derived from the unripe seedpods of the opium poppy. Preparations of opium were called laudanum. Derivatives of laudanum include paregoric (a drug to treat diarrhea), morphine and heroin. For centuries, opium was used as a painkiller in the Middle and Far East. It gained great popularity in Europe and the European colonies in the 18th century and became a main ingredient in patent medicines that patients could easily obtain without a prescription. Many people became addicted. Civil War soldiers in pain from wounds often received morphine. By 1900, it is estimated that more than 200,000 people in the US were addicted to opium and its derivatives. The US Congress passed a law in 1909 prohibiting the manufacture and sale of opium.
* * *The air-dried milky exudation obtained by incising the unripe capsules of Papaver somniferum (family Papveraceae) or its variety, P. album. Contains some 20 alkaloids, including morphine, 9–14%; noscapine, 4–8%; codeine, 0.8–2.5%; papaverine, 0.5–2.5%; and thebaine, 0.5–2%. Used as an analgesic, hypnotic, and diaphoretic, and in diarrhea and spasmodic conditions. SYN: gum o., meconium (2). [L. fr. G. opion, poppy-juice]- Boston o. o. so diluted after importation as barely to meet the official requirements. SYN: pudding o..- deodorized o., denarcotized o. powdered o. treated with purified petroleum benzine that removes certain nauseating and odorous constituents.- powdered o. dried and finely powdered o. containing 10% morphine.- pudding o. SYN: Boston o..
* * *opi·um 'ō-pē-əm n a highly addictive drug that consists of the dried milky juice from the seed capsules of the opium poppy obtained from incisions made in the unripe capsules of the plant, that has a brownish yellow color, a faint smell, and a bitter and acrid taste, that is a stimulant narcotic usu. producing a feeling of well-being, hallucinations, and drowsiness terminating in coma or death if the dose is excessive, that was formerly used in medicine to soothe pain but is now often replaced by derivative alkaloids (as morphine or codeine) or synthetic substitutes, and that is smoked illicitly as an intoxicant with harmful effects
* * *n.an extract from the poppy Papaver somniferum, which has analgesic and narcotic action due to its content of morphine. It has the same uses and side-effects as morphine and prolonged use may lead to dependence. See also opiate.
* * *opi·um (oґpe-əm) [L., from Gr. opion] [USP] the air-dried milky exudate obtained from the unripe capsules of Papaver somniferum or P. album. Various principles and derivatives of opium, including some 20 alkaloids, notably morphine, codeine, papaverine, and thebaine, are used for their narcotic and analgesic effects. Because it is highly addictive, the production of opium is restricted, and the cultivation of the plants from which it is obtained is prohibited by most nations under an international agreement. Called also crude o. and gum o.
Medical dictionary. 2011.