Citation: Anonymo the Wise. "What a Beautiful Drug It Is: An Experience with Codeine (ID 65891)". Erowid.org. Nov 27, 2007. erowid.org/exp/65891
Ah, codeine! What a beautiful drug it is. I realise that there are many people who look down on those who use codeine as a recreational drug because it is such a 'soft-core drug', but I'm here to say that it certainly does have potential to make for a very, very relaxing and euphoric high.
The beauty of codeine is that it is so readily available, especially in Australia as it is available over the counter from any pharmacy. It is sold either in combination with ibuprofen, paracetamol (APAP) or aspirin, and unlike many other countries it is not tainted with caffeine! The other thing I like so much about codeine is it's subtlety, it's possible to take a moderate to high dose, leaving you feeling wonderful but totally in control, whilst those around you are none the wiser. It never forces you into a nod like other opiates, but allows you to nod if you chose to. Which I often do.
Part 1: Cold Water Extraction
A typical codeine experience for me first involves a cold-water extraction, as I love my liver very much and respect it's wishes not to be poisoned. That way it'll look after me well into my old age. I typically stick with codeine/paracetamol tablets as the tablets with ibuprofen tend to contain more binder and take much longer to filter. As I have a fair tolerance to codeine, I usually use between 30 and 40 tablets (containing 500mg APAP and 10mg codeine). First, I break them in half, then I add about 90ml of tap water. The tablets usually dissolve after about 10 minutes with occasional stirring. Some brands tend to dissolve and filter much faster than others so I make to sure to stick with those brands. Why make things harder, right? Once they are dissolved, I stick it in the freezer until ice just starts to form on top.
Next, I take two coffee filters and fold the edges of one so that it fits neatly into the other. I wet them with ice-water and put them over the top of a small plastic cup. I then pour all then codeine/APAP solution into the filter and stick it in the fridge for an hour or so. Once the hour is up I neatly fold up the edges of the filters and slowly and very carefully squeeze the living hell out of the filter and it's contents. This is to ensure that I get every last bit of opiate goodness. The solution I'm left with is somewhat milky (from the binders I presume), but there are never any solids in it. If so, I refilter. The amount of solution I'm left with is typically 10ml to 15ml less than what I stared with, so I assume that I've lost about 15% of the codeine at the most. Also, chances are that some APAP has dissolved and worked it's way into the final solution but I feel it would be nowhere near a dangerous level. Have you ever tried dissolving even 500mg of pure paracetamol in 100ml of water? It just cann't happen.
Once my codeine solution is ready I either use it within a day or I shove it in the freezer as it doesn't keep very well in the fridge and especially not at room temperature. In fact, it seems to turn either brown or pink after a few days. There's no way I'm drinking that shit.
Part 2: Mmmmm.... codeine.
It's always a good idea to chose the right time to use codeine. Unfortunately, the more I use it, the more 'right times' there seem to be. Typically I like to take codeine on as empty as stomach as possible so that it hits harder and faster. The obvious disadvantage is that it doesn't last as long this way. My favourite time to take codeine is in the morning if I plan to sleep in, it hits me in about 8 minutes and it's pure bliss for a few hours after that, drifting in and out of sleep with a moderate to strong sense of euphoria.
There are a few preparations I like to make before I take codeine. Firstly, I take a dramamine (50mg dimenhydrinate) about 30 minutes before the codeine so that I don't get too itchy. It also acts as a mild sedative and tends to enhance the nod and takes away the uncomfortable edge that I sometimes get with high doses of codeine. Dramamine is just wonderful for smoothing out a codeine high and making it feel cleaner. Furthermore, I take about 3 antacids (mylanta or something similar) about 10 minutes before the codeine to help it absorb better.
Many people complain about the taste of codeine, but those people need to toughen the fuck up. I find that it's very bearable if you slam it down as quickly as possible. I try to avoid diluting it with more water as this slows down the absorbtion slightly. Anyway, if taken on an empty stomach the familiar feelings of warmth, comfort, pleasant apathy and euphoria hit me in less than ten minutes. The codeine peaks at about twenty minutes with the peak lasting about an hour and it then tapers off for 2 or 3 hours after that. I'm lucky enough not to get any nausea, but occasionally I will have the mildest of hangovers consisting of a slightly unsettled gut. No big deal.
Part 3: Other things
Obviously, codeine use can cause constipation, and constipation ain't fun. To minimise this, I always take a mild laxative and plenty of fibre and water during or after using codeine.
On internet forums and various other sites I have heard people making reference to the fact that grapefruit juice can be used to potentiate codeine. In my experience this hasn't proven true at all, in fact the few times that I've tried it, it actually seemed to ruin the experience. Other people suggest a nice synergy between codeine and alcohol but I disagree with this also as I find that alcohol spoils the opiate high and can easily overpower a mild codeine high.
I've also heard mention that rectal administration of codeine allows for faster absorption and a stronger high but in reality I have not found this to be true either, unless of course, if you're comparing it to ingesting it on a full stomach. As I mentioned, codeine on an empty stomach hits me in 8 minutes, rectally it takes 10 to 15 minutes to take effect, plus the discomfort of squirting 80ml of liquid where the sun don't shine is totally not worth it in my opinion.
Anther thing worth noting is that I find it quite difficult to sleep after taking codeine. Instead, 'the nod' seems to take over and I find myself drifting in and out of consciousness rather than sleeping soundly. This can be downright frustrating if all I want to do is get to sleep, especially if I need to get up early! For this reason I usually avoid taking codeine late at night.
One last thing I'd like to mention is a side-effect of codeine that is rarely discussed. It's the fact that moderate to high doses of codeine can cause some pretty significant dry mouth and throat, and as a singer I find it very hard to sing well for about 24 hours because of this dryness. In particular, I find the upper end of my vocal register suffers but I can usually get a nice Leonard Cohen/Barry White low-end thing happening instead.
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