The term "poppy straw" means all parts, except the seeds, of the opium poppy, after mowing.
Poppy straw is the harvested pods of the plant Papaver somniferum, without incising. Opium is not produced, but through a chemical process, in a factory, morphine is extracted directly from the pulp. This process is less vulnerable because the farmers are not allowed to collect opium, and the process of extracting morphine from the poppy straw is too complicated for a farmer to become much of a problem.
Poppy straw is the husk left after the opium is extracted from the pods. This poppy straw also contains a very small morphine content and if used in sufficient quantities, poppy straw can give a high. There are poppy straw addicts who are supplied poppy straw. Possession, sale, use, etc. of poppy straw is regulated by the State Governments under the State NDPS Rules. Farmers sell the poppy straw to those licensed by the State Governments to purchase poppy straw. Any excess poppy straw is ploughed back into the field. Poppy straw is one of the narcotic drugs under the NDPS Act, 1985. Hence, anyone possessing, selling, purchasing or using poppy straw without a license or authorization or in violation of any conditions of the license is liable to prosecution under the NDPS Act.
Opium Poppy straw can be one of several different things:
- What is left after the poppy seed harvest, so the dried stalks, stem and leaves of poppies grown for their seeds
- The dried leaves and stalk harvested after the seed pod has been used for traditional opium extraction
- The dried leaves, stalk and seed pod used in commercial manufacture of morphine or other poppy alkaloid derived drugs, where no extraction using traditional methods of latex extraction has been made
How is it used - licit use
Up until the 1930s the straw was regarded as a waste product, but when chemical processes became more sophisticated, the pharmaceutical industry realised they could extract a number of the raw alkaloids from the straw to use to produce codeine and morphine.
The method is to extract the alkaloids from the crushed plant with diluted sulfuric acid. The extraction is performed in many steps (one amount of crushed plant is at least six to ten times extracted, so practically every alkaloid goes into the solution). From the solution obtained at the last extraction step, the alkaloids are precipitated by either ammonium hydroxide or sodium carbonate. The last step is purifying and separating morphine from other opium alkaloids.Poppy straw is now the source of 90% of the world supply of legal morphine (for medical and scientific use). For the pharmaceutical industry it does not therefore particularly matter what the raw material contains as the extraction process will sort out the constituents.
For many farmers supplying only to the pharmaceutical industry, the production of poppies for straw is far more efficient than the labour intensive extraction of latex opium by hand. Harvesting of poppy straw can be almost entirely mechanised. It is a somewhat similar process to growing wheat. The plants are allowed to mature fully, then a machine is used to harvest the entire field. The ripe poppy seeds are separated out by threshing and winnowing, and the remainder is poppy straw. Despite the definition above given by the Single convention, although poppy straw should only consist of the above ground parts of the plant, the roots may be harvested as well.The Problem - which alkaloids:
Let us suppose that you are able to get hold of some poppy straw or some fancifully labelled smoking mixture and you think - whoopee I can smoke this and it will be a cheap form of opium. You would be wholly and dangerously wrong.
(1953 Bulletin) The Manufacture of Morphine from Poppy Straw:
The use of a soporific tisane or "tea" of poppy capsules has long been known in Europe, perhaps ever since the beginning of poppy cultivation there more than 3,000 years ago. However, the commercial manufacture of morphine direct from the poppy plant dates only from the 1920's, when it was begun in Hungary by Janos von, Kabay.
The original conception was that a field of green poppies would be mowed like hay, before maturity, and then processed for alkaloids. However, as soon as it was learned that the morphine did not disappear when the juice dried up, but remained in the mature dried plant (at least as long as it was not washed out by rain), it became possible to use the poppies both for seed production and for alkaloids. Consequently, the extraction of morphine became a by-product industry, as the poppy was already grown in Hungary for its edible and oil-producing seed. At first the Whole dried poppy plant was cut off for processing, and the term "poppy; straw" for this material came, into international use. As soon as reliable analyses were available, it was clear that nearly all the, morphine was obtained from the capsules. The industry then began to use poppy capsules with as little stem as possible. Mechanical harvesting may result in cutting a considerable length of stem with the capsules, but the stems contribute little, if anything, to the morphine manufacture.
Thus, whether the material used by the drug factories is referred to as "poppy capsules", "poppy heads" or "poppy chaff" (the relatively worthless residue of broken capsules, etc., left from threshing out the seeds), or by some general term such as "poppy straw", or simple "poppy", "poppies" or "poppy plant" (the usual terms in French) or "poppy plant material" (suggested as a completely general term for English), the morphine extracted comes almost entirely, from the capsules. It is necessary to bring out this point because there have been references to "poppy straw and poppy capsules", as if these were two different materials.
The term "poppy straw" as used internationally refers to the whole dried poppy plant or to whatever part is actually used. Thus, in reporting statistics, Hungary used the term "poppy straw" until 1951, but the percentage yield as given by the Permanent Central Opium Board shows that essentially only the capsules were used at least as early as 1947, as a yield of 0.21 per cent could not otherwise be obtained.The manufacture of morphine direct from the dried poppy plant soon spread from Hungary to Poland and later to other countries, and is now a commonplace in most countries where poppies are grown on a large scale primarily for their seeds.
(2010) Opium Tea:
Poppy straw is the most common ingredient used for poppy tea. It is generally mixed with warm water and produces an intensely bitter drink. The darker and more bitter the tea, the more potent. In order to counteract the bitterness, some abusers add flavorings. Some abusers also evaporate poppy tea over low heat to make a thick, concentrated liquid or a dry powder. They typically place the concentrated liquid or dry powder in gel caps and use the gel caps to measure dosage. Additionally, some abusers add poppy straw directly to yogurt and other foods.
(kompot, compote) is a crude preparation of heroin made from poppy straw.
Derived from opium poppies that are harvested when fully mature and dried by mechanical means, minus the ripe poppy seeds. It is what remains after the poppy seed harvest, that is, the dried stalks, stem and leaves of poppies grown for their seeds. The dried leaves and stalks are harvested after the seed pods have been used for traditional opium extraction. The straw was originally considered an agricultural by-product of the mechanised poppy seed harvest, which was primarily grown for its edible and oil-producing seed.
POPPY STRAW CONCENTRATE
Is the residual mass of total alkaloids after the extraction process from puppy straw. This concentrate is further refined by separating the individual alkaloids, e.g., morphine, codeine and [perhaps] small amounts of thebaine.
Concentrated poppy straw consisting mainly of the crushed capsule without the seeds soon became a valuable source of morphine. Today, concentrate of poppy straw is a major source of many opiates and other alkaloids. It is the source of 90% of the world supply of legal morphine (for medical and scientific use) and in some countries it also is a source of illegal morphine, which could be processed into illegal heroin.
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