Citation: MalorixGalba. "And a Trip to the Hospital: An Experience with Opium Poppy Leaf (exp107855)". Erowid.org. Aug 12, 2016. erowid.org/exp/107855
Drugs taken prior to this experience: many, over many years. All the big names, although I havenít ingested a psychedelic since 2007. We donít need a laundry list of irrelevant compounds for this report. As far as opiates go, I have taken codeine, hydrocodone, Percocet, Darvocet, and oxycontin. For this experience, I ingested only raw opium, and ingested it orally. I have never had an addiction to any opiate.
After my wife had our first child, it occurred to both of us how useful it was to have opiate painkillers around. She had been prescribed 10mg Norco to deal with the aftermath of giving birth, but hadnít consumed her entire prescription, so there it sat in the medicine cabinet for months. I get migraines on occasion, and I got hit with a really bad one that caused me to miss work, and I ended up taking several of her Norcos because I had maxed myself out on ibuprofen. Having the ability to just go take opiate medication without having to go in and see a doctor was something I really appreciated; we live in a rural area and are 30 minutes away from the closest doctorís office or urgent care facility. My appreciation of this convenience led me to researching opiates, and it was then that I discovered that opium poppy seeds are readily available. After a lot of reading, I decided to grow a crop and dry the poppies for use in making poppy tea Ė an as-needed painkiller to use in case we ran out of her Norcos and didnít feel like driving the 1 hour round trip to and from the doctorís office. I ordered several cultivars of Papaver somniferum. Having formal education in botany, plus the amount of reading and source-checking I did prior to this endeavor, gave me a lot of confidence that I could do it safely. Overconfidence, as it turns out.
The poppies were quite easy to grow. I planted them amongst the vegetables in my vegetable garden, and they sprouted. Care was an afterthought as they were watered along with the rest of my garden. No insects preyed upon them. As they grew, I took to ripping a leaf in half here and there to let the white sap flow and harden on the wound, then I would ingest the (now black and sticky) sap, very small amounts at first to see how I reacted to the other components such as thebaine and oripavine, toxins that are present in opium alongside the desired compounds morphine and codeine.
The effect from this ingestion gave me a mild but long-lasting euphoric buzz that I was quick to appreciate, and I was surprised that I could feel anything at all considering the small amount that I took. The buzz would sometimes last into the next day, and it wasnít a drowsy nodding buzz like hydrocodone or codeine would have given me; it was an alert buzz, and I even had trouble sleeping when I would take it. This should have been a warning sign to me that the plants I was picking off of likely contained an above average concentration of thebaine, but it did not occur to me.
One day I was out in the garden, and instead of eating a small amount of dried sap, I ate a chunk of leaf approximately 2 mm x 2mm square, a very tiny piece. This was at dusk, and I went in to lay down; my wife was already asleep. Within 15 minutes I felt a sensation I had never felt before: it felt as though the bones in my skull were numb. I started tapping on my head and for the life of me I couldnít feel my bones. It was the oddest sensation, and slightly unsettling.
Within an hour I was beginning to get nervous. I was feeling very light-headed and jittery. I was also having mild difficulty breathing. I got out of bed and started sort of pacing around the house in the hopes that I had psyched myself out and just needed to calm down. After walking around and drinking some water I convinced myself that I felt better and went to lay down in our spare bedroom. I didnít feel tired and didnít want to disturb my wife with rolling around and whatnot. I brought my kindle and laid down to read.
I read for an hour, the light-headed feeling growing and becoming more distracting. Finally I resolved to try and force myself to sleep. As I lay down I became more aware of the breathing issues, which had been increasing in severity during this time. My legs also began to feel tight and slightly cramped, as did my stomach muscles, although there was no pain at all. I tried to ignore it and just go to sleep but I just kept feeling worse and worse. Finally I got up out of bed. My wife, it turns out, was also out of bed. She took one look at me and asked me what was wrong. At this moment I realized that I was higher than I had ever been off of any opiate, the euphoria hit me all at once, and I struggled through this feeling to tell her what had happened. She gave me that ďohh, you fucking idiotĒ look.
At this point the panic that I had been fighting off took over. Breathing was difficult and I was having trouble walking due to the muscle issues. I tapped out and asked her to take me to the hospital. The entire 30 minute ride there was a struggle to maintain consciousness. I didnít feel like I was going to nod off, instead I was so light headed and dizzy I felt that I was going to pass out. The headspace was this frenetic confusion, such that I also began to worry about potentially having a seizure. The car ride was horrid, an experience I never want to repeat again.
We arrived at the hospital and they checked me in. Just being there reduced my anxiety greatly, but the physical symptoms would not relent. They admitted me and the doctors and nurses could not understand what I had done. When I told them I had eaten a piece of opium poppy they looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. They asked me what was in opium. I had to struggle not to respond with a choice insult at the stupidity of that question coming from a medical professional. I felt that I was not in good hands and told them the principle components: morphine, codeine, thebaine, oripavine. I explained that I suspected the portion of poppy that I ate was high in concentration of thebaine. They had no idea what to do. Honest to god, they had no idea. They kept me in a room and kept coming back and asking me questions. Over the next three hours, my symptoms lessened, but no thanks to the medical staff. Insurance would bill me $150 for this visit, which these assholes definitely did not earn. Finally I just checked myself out. We arrived back home at 5:30 AM. I was still unable to sleep until 8 AM or so. When I awoke, the speedy feeling was gone, but I felt an opiate euphoria for a full 24 hours after I woke up.
I am not sure what to make of this experience. I believe I suffered from thebaine poisoning. It is the only chemical constituent of opium that fits the symptoms I was having: wakefulness, agitation, anxiety, muscular issues, breathing issues. It also would explain the very long duration high I experienced after the unpleasant symptoms wore off, as thebaine is metabolized into morphine, among other compounds. It seems that the relative concentrations of morphine, codeine, thebaine, and oripavine can vary greatly from plant to plant. I also wonder if ingesting actual plant material instead of the sap could have had something to do with it, i.e. toxic alkaloids are in greater concentration in tissue than they are in the sap. I think most striking of all is how small of an amount of plant matter I had to ingest to achieve this effect.
I wonít be taking opium again, at least not in its unrefined form. The potential for toxicity is simply too high, and while this dose was quite effective at removing all vestiges of pain, it came with a host of unpleasant side effects that I wouldnít ever willingly repeat. Beware of raw opium.
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