2. Method of Incision (Figs. 121 and 122). With the left hand holding the capsule, a knife is drawn lightly across the surface to make an incision extending either about two-thirds round in a transverse direction, or completely round in a spiral. These incisions must be carefully made, and must be quite shallow (usually about 1 mm. deep); if the cuts are too deep the inner wall of the capsule will be pierced, and the latex will flow inwards.
Collection of Latex. The exuded latex, which is white, turns brown
and coagulates to form a pasty mass around the incisions, and next morning
it is removed by scraping. The collector transfers the soft material to a
poppy leaf cupped in the hand, and when this is full another leaf is
placed above, and the whole is then set aside in the shade to thicken and
harden. In former years these cakes of opium were allowed to become
sufficiently firm and then placed in bags along with dock fruits to
prevent agglomeration of the cakes. The sealed bags were then enclosed in
baskets and transported by mules, chiefly to Smyrna. Here the bags were
opened, the cakes inspected, graded, sorted, and re-packed in
hermetically-sealed boxes lined with tin, called opium chests. The
product, known as "Druggists' Opium," was the variety common in
English commerce. A similar but softer variety, termed "Soft Shipping
Opium," was imported into this country for transhipment or the
manufacture of alkaloids.
Following the imposition of a monopoly in Opium products by the Turkish Government, a new form of opium ("manipulated opium") has been produced since 1935 and the old varieties ("natural opium") are no longer imported. The inspissated latex is sent to a factory, bulked, passed through a mill to render the mass uniform and then pressed into moulds to give regular cakes, weighing 2 kilogrm. The cakes are coated with coarsely-powdered poppy leaf and then packed, forty in a tin-lined case. The product is known as Turkish Government Monopoly Opium.
The collection of Macedonian Opium is similar to that of Turkish Druggists' Opium; the partly-dry juice is usually transferred from the capsules to a tin can and later made into balls of 0.5 to 1.0 kilogram., wrapped in poppy leaves, and stored until dry.
Time of Incision.
The production of Opium in India for export to China was reduced annually from 1907 by agreement with the Chinese Government, and ceased entirely in 1913. The exports from India are chiefly to this country for use in the manufacture of morphine and codeine. Indian Opium is not suitable for the preparation of official extracts, particularly Dry Extract of Opium, on account of its low morphine content, low moisture content and high water-soluble extractive
Collection resembles that described for Turkey Opium. The latex is then usually mixed with gummy matter (probably sarcocolia, a gummy exudation from species of Pendea or inferior qualities of tragacanth) and sometimes with grape juice (indicated by the high proportion of glucose frequently present to which the vitreous fraction of some specimens is attributed). This admixture is then beaten to form a homogeneous paste, and afterwards made into brick-shaped pieces which are separately wrapped in red paper.
Persian Opium is not regularly brought into this country, but quantities are exported to the Far East. Some Persian Opium is prepared in a form similar to the old Turkish '' Druggists' " Opium.
The above figures refer to anhydrous morphine in opium as imported (raw opium). The proportion of moisture present varies and was formerly greatest in Turkish Soft Shipping (about 30 per cent) which contained 15 to 18 per cent morphine on drying. Turkish Druggists' Opium contained about 20 per cent moisture and yielded 12 to 16 per cent morphine on drying.
The Pharmacopoeia requires opium to contain not less than 9-5 per cent anhydrous morphine and this requirement is met by most consignments of the above varieties except Indian Opium, which frequently fails to reach this figure.
It has been demonstrated on a number of occasions that a hot climate is not required for the production of opium of high morphine content. Experimental cultivation in Denmark yielded opium containing 23.8 per cent morphine. Commercial cultivation, however, is not likely to develop in western European countries due to the heavier labour costs.
is stated to be some decline in morphine content on long storage of raw
opium but, according to Henry, powdered opium does not deteriorate in this
way when stored in well-closed containers. The alkaloids next in
(an oxidation product of papaverine), laudanine, laudanidine (also known
as tritopine), laudanoaino, oodamine, narootoline, oxynarcotine,
hydrocotamino, protopine, cryptopine, noopine (isomeric with codeine) and
Meconic Acid: a dibasic acid peculiar to opium and with which the morphine is combined as a water-soluble salt; the proportion ranges from 3-5 per cent, being greater in opiums of high morphine content.
Lactic acid, sulphates, meconin, gummy substances, fat, inorganic salts and caoutchouc-like material are also present.
Tannin, starch, fat and calcium oxalate are absent; they are present in a number of potential adulterants and suspected samples should therefore be tested for these substances.
Smoking opium usually contains about 5 per cent of morphine and is prepared by partially extracting opium with water, concentrating and roasting the extract.
evaluation of opium on its morphine content, and the care taken in
sampling for this purpose, render most forms of adulteration almost
useless; artificial weighting naturally causes serious loss, but the
practice is now rare.
Morphine has been mentioned as the principal alkaloid of opium, but codeine and narcotine are also important. The mixed alkaloids are also used as Papaveretum B.P.C., containing all the opium alkaloids, in soluble form as hydrochlorides, in the proportion normally found in the drug.
Morphine. The formula C17H17NO(OH)2 for this alkaloid shows that it contains two hydroxyl groups, one of which is phenolic. For this reason two types of morphine derivative are possible, esters and ethers.
Esters of Morphine. The esters are prepared by treating morphine with acids or acid anhydrides under conditions nuitublo for esterification, and are therefore called acyl doriva.tivoH,
other esters these derivatives are readily hydrolysed, whereby morphine is
re-formed�this change occurs in the body. Hence, because morphine is
readily recoverable from the esters, and because, like morphine, they are
habit-forming, all these derivatives are regulated by the Dangerous Drugs
Diamorphine (Syn. Diacetyl-morphine, Acetomorphine, Heroin) is prepared by treating morphine with acetic anhydride, whereby both hydroxyl groups are replaced by the acetyl group (CH3CO-), as indicated by the chemical name, diacetyl-morphine.
Benzoyl-morphine. This is similarly prepared using benzoyl chloride or benzoic anhydride. This acyl derivative must be carefully distinguished from benzylmorphine (see below).
Ethers may be prepared from aliphatic alcohols (to form alkyl derivatives), or aromatic alcohols (to form aryl derivatives), of which the following are the more important�
Codeine. This is methyl morphine, and has the formula C17H17NO(OH)(OCH3). In addition to natural codeine extracted from opium, synthetic codeine is prepared by the tnethylation of morphine.
Ethylmorphine (Syn. Dionine). As indicated by the name, this is the ethyl ether, its formula being C17H17NO(OH)OC2HS.
Benzylmorphine (Syn. Peronine). Similarly this is the benzyl ether, and is the only commonly used aryl derivative.
In addition to the esters and ethers, there is another important derivative of morphine, namely;
Apomorphine. This is prepared by heating morphine with hydrochloric acid in sealed tubes, whereupon part of the morphine loses two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen, to form apomorphine, which is separated and purified. The narcotic effect of this derivative is modified by its powerful emetic properties, for which it is exclusively used.