substance derived by collecting and drying the milky juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy
, Papaver somniferum.
Opium varies in color from yellow to dark brown and has a characteristic odor and a bitter taste. Its chief active principle is the alkaloid morphine
, a narcotic
. Other constituents are the alkaloids codeine
, and noscapine (narcotine); heroin
is synthesized from morphine. Morphine, heroin, and codeine are addicting drugs; papaverine and noscapine are not. A tincture of opium is called laudanum
is a mixture of opium, alcohol, and camphor.
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