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Created Feb 2021



PRECURSOR OF MANY NARCOTICS | codeine methyl enol ether

DEA CODE 9333: Schedule 2 Narcotic


Thebaine (Seed Capsules)

The Opium poppy plant (Papaver somniferum) contains six alkaloids commonly used in medicine and commercial products. The three used most often in analgesics are Morphine, Codeine, and (to a lesser extent due to its greater toxicity) Thebaine. The substance is a precursor of one of history's oldest analgesics, Morphine, and is named for the ancient Egyptian city, Thebes. Thebaine is also known as paramorphine due to its stimulatory effects - as opposed to the depressant effects of Morphine and Codeine.

Normally, Opium contains between 0.3% to 1.5% Thebaine (as much as 6% has been reported in some species). It is classified as a narcotic and convulsant and, as such, is an internationally regulated product. Natural and synthetic Thebaine derivatives are used as "starting material" in some medications to aid in absorption. It can be found among a long list of compounds in a variety of prescription Opioids, including Buprenorphine, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, and Naloxone.

The effects of Thebaine are similar to other Opioids but differ in distinct ways due to its tendency to cause involuntary convulsions. It can block pain signals but, as a partial agonist, is not strongly associated with the "high" caused by drugs like Vicodin and Heroin. Additionally, the substance is considered toxic.

Thebaine is not per se a drug of abuse; however, it is readily convertible to drugs of abuse. Its primary value is that it is readily convertible to codeine - the drug causing all the interest by the drug industry and medical professions. Also, it is convertible to other drugs known as oripavines having a potency of hundreds (thousands) of times that of morphine. Whether or not those substances will be abused is highly speculative.

Thebaine Definition:
An opium alkaloid that is chemically similar to morphine but has stimulatory effects. It comprises about 0.2% of natural opium. Although thebaine lacks the analgesic effect of morphine, it can be converted to several important opioid agonists and antagonists (e.g., buprenorphine, naloxone).

Monkeys get addicted (1980 Study):
Thebaine was long believed to have no morphine-like agonistic properties and many studies, old and recent, are supportive of this view. However, it is now evident that it has a meaningful dependence potential, both physical and psychological, when large doses are ingested over a certain period in the rhesus monkey.

  • Thebaine is a very strong basic compound (based on its pKa)
  • Minor constituent of opium
  • Belongs to the class of organic compounds known as morphinans

Cayman Chemical PDF Thebaine


While thebaine is not used therapeutically, it is the main alkaloid extracted from Papaver bracteatum (Iranian opium / Persian poppy) and can be converted industrially into a variety of compounds, including hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, nalbuphine, naloxone, naltrexone, buprenorphine and etorphine. Butorphanol can also be derived from thebaine

  • An opiate alkaloid
  • A minor constituent of opium
  • Thebaine is chemically similar to both morphine and codeine, but has stimulatory rather than depressant effects
  • The Papaver bracteatum seed capsules are the primary source of thebaine, with significant amount in the stem too.

Its name comes from the Greek Thebai (Thebes), an ancient city in Upper Egypt

In 2012 146,000 kilograms of thebaine were produced. In 2013, Australia was the main producer of poppy straw rich in thebaine, followed by Spain and then France. Together, those three countries accounted for about 99 per cent of global production of such poppy straw.

At high doses, it causes convulsions similar to strychnine poisoning

Antheia Announces $17 Million in Funding for Domestic Pharmaceutical Ingredient Production - Antheia announced that it has received $17 million in funding to be used for projects focused on building domestic pharmaceutical production sites. 1 The pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturer ...
Sunday July 21, 2024 -

Department of Defense Changes Codeine Cutoff Rate - Drug test cutoff levels are set measurement ... from the program includes the addition of a reflex screening test for thebaine, an opioid produced by the poppy plant that can be used as a urinary ...
Tuesday June 25, 2024 -

North Carolina physician charged with distributing controlled substance, US attorney says - This drug is a synthetic analog of thebaine, which is an alkaloid compound derived from the poppy flower. More News: 3 detention officers arrested, charged in crimes against female inmates ...
Thursday June 27, 2024 -

Man admits selling illegal flower seeds for narcotic 'tea' on baking supply website, official says - King's office in Asheville, said Daniel Allen Childers, 34, of Asheville, will spend time in prison after pleading guilty for a drug offense ... codeine, and thebaine," she said.
Thursday April 11, 2024 -

Rusan Pharma’s API Plant in Ankleshwar Receives (India) USFDA GMP Approval - RUSAN PHARMA PRIVATE LIMITED, a pharmaceutical company based in India specializing in the area of addiction treatment and pain management, recently announced that the United States Food and Drug ...
Monday July 22, 2024 -

Chemistry of Indian Opium - Narcotine (5–7 per cent) ; codeine (1–2 per cent), papaverine (0·4–1 per cent), thebaine (0·2–0·5 per cent) and narceine (0·5–1 per cent) are also present.
Tuesday July 16, 2024 -

Neurology - Drugs - Discover most of the FDA-approved drugs from the medical speciality of Neurology. This page can serve as a valuable information guide for healthcare providers and patients seeking detailed drug ...
Sunday February 25, 2018 -

‘Challenging’ botulism case highlighted in Australia; country reports recall information - Chemical contamination led to 24 recalls, the most common being thebaine and ethylene oxide. In this period, the top recalled products were mixed and/or processed foods. This category includes ...
Tuesday June 25, 2024 -

Rusan Pharma’s API Plant in Ankleshwar Receives USFDA GMP Approval - Rusan Pharma's new facility in India will enhance its global capabilities, expand its API product portfolio, and increase its presence in the US pharmaceutical sector.
Sunday July 21, 2024 -

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