Citation: Fang. "Vivid and Sweet: An Experience with Opium & Cannabis (exp48640)". Erowid.org. Jun 22, 2008. erowid.org/exp/48640
||(tar / resin)
One afternoon when I was 22, just as my friend and his girlfriend were leaving our apartment, some of our other friends appeared in great excitement with a couple of garbage bags full of poppy heads. I lived in a place where a vast amount of poppies are grown for the pharmaceutical industry. The ones we had that day back in 1992 though were a specially-engineered variety for a high yield of narcotic.
My flatmate had made opium before and explained to me what we needed to do to process it. He observed our work and then left us like the seven dwarves at the mine to take the crowns off all the pods and empty them of their seeds. Whether true or not, the rumour amongst the heads of town was that the crowns and seeds contained large amounts of the poison strychnine, apparently a deliberately genetically engineered trait that the breeders of this variety had employed to discourage consumption by people such as ourselves. [Erowid Note: This is a rumor with no known basis in fact, but it is interesting to know about rumors that circulate.] One thing I couldn't understand was why my flatmate put some ash from the fireplace into the huge pot in which we were stewing the poppies. The job of slowly cooking them down into tar took about eight hours and we were left with an electric frying pan full to near its brim with a black tarry sludge. After sorting out what was a fair payment for the service of cooking up the opium, the guys who had relieved the field of the poppies (by swimming across a full flowing river into the field and then back with the garbage bags!), my flatmate, his girlfriend and I were left with about 2000 grams to entertain ourselves.
Generally, my flatmate and I shared the household duty of pot dealing, although I was more like his henchman whom he 'paid' with as much pot as we could smoke communally and so, according to this arrangement, the lion's share of the 'O' went to him. We smoked an average of about four ounces of pot between the three of us a week and so during our opium sessions we would each smoke between 50 to 100 pipes of pot which complemented and enhanced the effects of it. Our home life was one of familiarity and we all got on really well with each other. We were part of a creative subculture and in some ways were the centre of it due to all of the people who came around to buy dope and so when we took opium it was in a familiar, safe and controlled environment in which we already felt extremely relaxed and comfortable and I think this enhanced the pleasurable effects of the drug a great deal. I have been out in public on opium and I found my body interpreted thoughts and feelings of vulnerability or uncomfortable social settings with a nauseated response and a desire to escape, much akin to panic, except with the need to vomit replacing each of the emotional triggers.
Because we acquired the large amount of opium during the summer holiday at first I was swallowing it without restraint every day for about three weeks, though in small doses during the day, perhaps a quarter of a gram and a larger dose each night, if we weren't going out that is, otherwise it was better to stay on a low dose. Though it was thirteen years ago the memories of some of the evenings that we had were unusually poignantly and indelibly left in my memory.
When high on opium the experience of emotions of pure joy and elation that came from having attained no actual achievement were so profound that they were stored in the memory like they were inspired by peak life event experiences so important that they were never to be forgotten. Just sitting on the couch playing a car racing game for instance, or watching music videos in the early morning darkness and fighting off sleep to drain from the experience just a few more moments of the heart's beaten jolts of pleasure were riveting memories artificially enhanced to the mind by the flow of endorphin-like chemicals. I think this is part of the drug's psychologically addictive nature because it creates these unnaturally fantastic scenarios out of what could be without the drug effects seen as from the purely doldrum and routine.
After the initial and continual three week binge was decidedly stopped I remember lying on my bed and wondering what this 'nasty' feeling of cold waves of unease and a gritty 'dirty' feeling in the core of my being and in my body was. I realised later that I had been going through a mild withdrawal. It did not get a chance to take full effect as we still took opium regularly and when school started again we reduced our usage over a year to nothing as our supplies dwindled. In this way we avoided the full effects of a withdrawal as it was like a year long extended reduction program.
It was a good thing that the stock of opium was left in the hands of my friend as this way he stopped both his girlfriend and me from having a free access to it. Each Thursday, Friday and Saturday night she and I would conspire like kids trying to convince a reluctant parent of the virtue in taking us to the amusement park to let us have some and in a ritual-like response he would tell us that we weren't going to get any because he, 'did not want to be responsible for turning us into junkies'. Then, when all hope had apparently been lost with the uttering of this statement or something similar, and we had given up trying to coerce him, he would announce that there was a gram (our standard dose) waiting for each of us on the kitchen table and we would sprint down the hall to it.
On these nights I remember I used to sit and worry while wondering whether it would have any effect on me in case I had built up a tolerance, later only to be severely effected in response. I found that if these doses are spaced by periods of days or weeks then tolerance did not seem to develop. I have read that tolerance can be altogether avoided if self control can limit usage in this way, but this might not be true. I don't believe addiction can be avoided in any other way than by an imposed and perpetual abstinence.
In general, the effect of the opium was that it 'came on' in waves that were increasing in strength like the sand of a warm sea washing downy tufts of tingly residue over me and weighing me down until my body was so warm, itchy and heavy that my eyelids would become an unbearable weight and drag me to my bed to fall shut. Sometimes I would despair and think it was all over and then came another wave lapping with an even greater intensity. The dreams it summoned were unusually vivid and sweet and the next day, staying at a one gram dose, there was a slight hint of still being opiated when I awoke so that even the reality of the new day bordered the edge of the dream state with its ethereal glow as though the dream was still continuing and this filled me with an outlook of positive optimism. As far as antidepressent drugs are concerned for unhealthy side effects, I think the narcotic would be the superior to all others in treating cases of chronic depression.
I rarely vomited on it, this was purely mind over matter as I did not want to waste it. The times that I did vomit were when I had taken larger than normal doses of over three grams and I didn't do this because the nausea was ruinous to the euphoria for me. I had heard it said that the opium in the region where I lived was as strong as the heroin found in other parts of the country. In our house we used it as a reward for having achieved something during the day and by doing this our scholastic efforts wound up ranked in the top percentile! (At least they did that year).
On and off after that Summer for the next few years I had experiences with opium, never with the same consistent regularity of use though. Just a few weeks here and there around December or Jan-Feb when it was harvest time. I distinctly remember the face of the barman at a local pub once when at the end of the night he eyed all of the crazily stoned people in the room with a disgusted realisation that his cash register had taken almost nothing and everyone in the room was solidly off their faces.
I rarely took opium without a combination of marijuana and tobacco with it. I hardly ever bothered to smoke it, it was more effacious to eat it. As a rule we never drank alcohol on it. It stopped being common in about 1999. I ended up becoming addicted to codeine-based painkillers and traquillisers and my friend's girlfriend became a heroin addict. Other people I knew died from heroin or other opiate overdoses. Of the people I knew who were involved with narcotics they now either still are in some way, are dead, or have had their potential for achievement in the real world diminished. I didn't know a lot about opium before I took it for the first time. To my mind a regular user of narcotics makes a trade off with reality in that they opt out of the real world achievement-fulfillment-reward-goal game and chemically rewire it to become a shortcut to temporarily overwhelming satisfaction from an artificially-induced and purely psychological form of fulfillment.
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