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Opium is a popular drug even before time. When it was discovered, some people took it as a medicine. They felt the remedy it has for various illnesses. Some others dismissed it as well. It was in the 1800’s when Opium was finally recognized worldwide as a drug. It was during that century that it was being marketed commercially.
Although once popular as a painkiller, most opium is now refined into heroin and sold illicitly for high prices in almost every city on the planet. All of this heroin started life as the gum gleaned from Papaver somniferous, the opium poppy.
For decades most of the worlds illegal opium has been produced in Afghanistan and the ‘Golden Triangle’, a region of southwest Asia. In recent years the amount coming out of Latin America, predominantly Mexico and Colombia, has increased, though cocaine is still the most widely produced drug in the region as it is far easier to refine in large amounts and is currently very popular which means high prices are paid for it.
Opium at the boom of its popularity was the most potent pain killer to the point that a lot who take it became addicted. It was in 1995 when synthesized (man-made) versions of opium was produced and approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These synthesized versions imitate the natural painkillers in the body.
Legal production of opium to use as a base for narcotic analgesics accounts for more than 50% of the opium grown worldwide. Australia and India have ideal poppy growing climates and most of the medicinal opium is grown in one of the two countries.
Opium is widely used as a local native medicine in some parts of the world and the process of obtaining it is simple. The unripe seed heads are slit from just beneath the flattened head of the pod down to the area where the pod joins the stem. This is done several times allowing the latex to seep out. This is collected, boiled in water, passed through a simple filter and dried.
The legalities of growing opium poppies vary widely depending on where you live, in some places even selling the seeds is illegal, in others only a certain amount of plants are allowed, in many the law is not clear on the subject.
It is important to understand opium fully before growing them. To seek advice to your doctor is the wisest thing to do before considering growing them. Also check in with the law in your area before having them in your garden.
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