- Also referred to as narcotic hallucinosis. The term opioid-induced hallucination is indebted to the Greek noun opion, which refers to the sap of a plant - or, more specifically, the resin of the opium poppy. The term opioid is used to denote a group of chemical substances with morphine-like effects. This group of substances is usually divided into four or more broad subclasses, comprising the natural opiates (i.e. a group of more than 40 opium alkaloids contained in the resin of the opium poppy, including morphine, codeine, thebaine, narcotine, and papaverine), the semi-synthetic opiates (i.e. a group of substances synthesized out of the natural opioids, including hydromor-phone, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and heroin), the fully synthetic opioids (including fentanyl, pethi-dine, methadone, and propoxyphene), and the endogenous opioid peptides (including the endor-phins, enkephalins, dynorphins, and endomor-phins). The term opiate is usually reserved for the groups of the natural and semi-synthetic opi-oids. It is used to denote the congealed juice, or latex, derived from the seed pods of the opium poppy Papaver somniferum, which is won by making incisions in the seed pods and then collecting the latex (called 'tears of the Moon' or 'tears of Aphrodite' in ancient Greece). Psy-choactive substances can also be found, albeit in smaller quantities, in the leaves, seeds, and roots of the opium poppy. Throughout human history, many opioid preparations have been manufactured. A well-known example is laudanum (also known as ledanum and labdanum), i.e. a mixture of 90% wine and 10% opium, introduced around 1530 by the Swiss alchemist and physician Paracelsus (1493-1541). Opioids can be administered orally, intravenously, subcutaneously, rec-tally, or through smoking. They have been used since ancient times as sedatives, aphrodisiacs, analgesics, potions, therapeutics, incenses, smoke offerings, "hallucinogens, and "entheogens. The use of opioids is extremely addictive. Chronic users tend to need ever-increasing dosages to equal the initial effects. The many adverse effects of opioid use include flushing, urticaria, obstipation, urinary retention, respiratory depression, hypothermia, bradycardia, tachycardia, orthostatic hypotension, vertigo, headache, muscle rigidity, myoclonus, euphoria, sedation, lively " dreams, hallucinations, and " delirium. Overdosing can be lethal. Opioid-induced hallucinations tend to be " visual, " auditory, or " compound in nature. The content of opioid-induced hallucinations is often described as blissful, paradisiacal, and/or sexually charged in nature. Moreover, many historical reports exist of opium-induced visions involving the plant itself, depicted either in its vegetable state or in the form of a beautiful, loving woman or goddess. As the French artist Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (18891963) wrote, "Opium is the only vegetable substance that communicates the vegetable state to us. Through it, we can get an idea of that other speed of plants." Among the auditory hallucinations, " musical hallucinations have been reported as well. In the parapsychological literature it is sometimes claimed that the opioids can induce " telepathic or " clairvoyant states. The mechanism of action of opioids is thought to involve specific opioid receptors (which are distributed throughout the CNS, spinal cord, and peripheral organs), as well as the opioid-receptor-like receptor 1 (ORL1). Both types of receptors are classified as G-protein-coupled receptors. Their effects upon the CNS are associated primarily with an agonistic action upon GABA-ergic neurotransmitters. A person intentionally employing opioids for the purpose of exploring the psyche may be called a " psychonaut.ReferencesFountain, A. (2002). Before you blame the morphine: Visual hallucinations in palliative care. CME Cancer Medicine, 1, 23-26.Rätsch, Chr. (2005). The encyclopedia of psy-choactive plants. Ethnopharmacology and its applications. Translated by Baker, J.R. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press.Rudgley, R. (1998). The encyclopaedia of psychoactive substances. London: Little, Brown and Company.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.
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