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Pharmacology - Differences between opiates and (semi)synthetic opioids

Discussion in 'Opiates & Opioids' started by $limJim, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. $limJim

    $limJim Silver Member

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    I realize this might sound pretty stupid, but Slim is strictly a heroin user, as it is typically easier to obtain and to IV, and his only knowledge of pharmaceutical opiates/opioids comes from his extensive research on the internet. He knows basically all he can about them, at least the most common ones (oxy, hydro, MS, fentanyl, etc.).

    The only thing he's never quite understood were the differences between opiates and opioids. I mean, I'm pretty sure opioids are synthetic derivatives, while opiates are natural, but even in this case, I have never really known what SYNTHETIC and SEMI-SYNTHETIC really meant, because I've honestly never really thought about it.

    I did some looking around and even UTFSE'd, but I couldn't find the answer I was looking for.

    The thing is, once I started to think about it, and to think about what 'synthetic' means, I suddenly thought, "Wow, does synthetic mean that they don't actually come from the poppy plant, but are like fake opiates?" Is that what opioids are actually? I mean, I have always assumed all opiates/opioids had to come from opium, but I got to thinking, maybe opioids are just like synthesized with the same opioid receptor structure and what not.

    And if that is the case, what is the difference between semi-synthetic and synthetic?

    Sorry, again, for this stupid question.
     
  2. Wehr

    Wehr Silver Member

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    Swim believes that semi synthetic means that the opioid is derived from a natural source and synthetic is totally man-made. Swim thinks drugs like fentanyl are synthetic and oxycodone semi synthetic. Could be wrong though. good question.
     
  3. dyingtomorrow

    dyingtomorrow Palladium Member R.I.P.

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    From SWIM's understanding, there is non-synthetic (i.e. the 3 which come directly from the poppy: codeine, morphine, and thebaine), semi-synthetic (i.e. heroin or hydromorphone, which are basically very lipid-soluble delivery molecules for morphine, or hydrocodone, same thing for codeine), and completely synthetic, such as fentanyl or buprenorphine, where they completely alter the opiate/oid molecule and turn it into something else.

    SWIM's not a medical expert though and could be wrong.
     
  4. $limJim

    $limJim Silver Member

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    So, Slim's main question is do synthetic opioids even come from opium, or are they created all on their own?
     
  5. pixplzthx

    pixplzthx Newbie

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    I believe that they all come form some/part of the opium plant; either the morphine, the codeine or the thebaine.
     
  6. helikophis

    helikophis Gold Member Donating Member

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    Synthetics are not made from chemicals produced by the opium plant. This synthesis procedure for fentanyl, for instance, begins with N-Phenethyl-Piperidone, which is generally ultimately derived from inorganic chemicals, or sometimes petroleum.
     
  7. fiveleggedrat

    fiveleggedrat Palladium Member

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    In short, they mimic the structures of the natural opium derived opiates. Look at them like a blueprint for an original type of something, like a pre-model that is functional. We can expand and build upon the original design (semi-synthetic) or create an all new but still similar (synthetic).
     
  8. $limJim

    $limJim Silver Member

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    That truly is awesome. So if the poppy were ever to become extinct, there would still be fentanyl in the world.

    I have even heard a long long time ago from someone that China White was synthetic heroin, which I'd have to say he was sadly mistaken. I've also heard that China White is fentanyl, so these two pieces of false information my go hand in hand.
     
  9. UNMASKED

    UNMASKED Newbie

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    :confused:
    :p
    swim thinks theres alot of misconception about "china white".... to swims knowledge....heroin in its purest form is white or off white. therefore...china white is just referring to "PURE heroin''. which back in the day and still now (MOSTLY FROM AFGHAN THOUGH), alot of smack came from that area. so it was probably why it go that nick name.swim's sure they could have some think in the next generation of smack users called afgan white.?? maybe swim is just talking out his ass though.
     
  10. cra$h

    cra$h Silver Member

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    Another question that goes along the lines of this is are opioids the synthetic, while opiates are the natural and semi natural ones? That question's always had me confused on what determines whats opiate and opioid. But aren't all opioids opiates or some shit like that? Kinda like a rectangle and square deal I guess
     
  11. Master_Khan

    Master_Khan Silver Member

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    Opiate= natural alkaloid contained in the resin of the opium poppy, primarily morphine, codeine, and thebaine. Kratom and Salvia can also be considered natural opiates because of their action on various receptors: Kratom on the Mu- and Delta receptors, and Salvia is a Kappa-Opioid Agonist.

    Opioid= semi-synthetic start with natural raw material (codeine, morphine, thebaine) and chemically alter in lab to come up with hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, desomorphine, diacetylmorphine (heroin), etc.

    Fully synthetic opioids: such as fentanyl, pethidine, methadone, tramadol and dextropropoxyphene; created in lab with chemicals; no need for natural raw material.

    This is an amalgamation of information from wikipedia that represents my best effort to organize it into something coherent and understandable. There are really smart people here who are chemists and scholars who will be able to explain it better, and hopefully they will do that.
     
  12. $limJim

    $limJim Silver Member

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    So that would mean that to create morphine, one would not have to alter opium in a lab. Well, what would one do to the opium then? I've read all sorts of instructions online on turning Opium (or even poppy straw) into morphine but was immediately confuse by all of them.
     
  13. I_8_my yellow crayon

    I_8_my yellow crayon Newbie

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    That is correct, kinda. Let swim explain it this way. Since the opium paste that comes from poppies has these three drugs in it, morphine,codeine and thebaine. Yes there is a lab proceedure but, there is a big difference between simply "extracting" and "creating". The morphine base is simply extracted from the poppy resin. Swim does not know about the other two drugs though. On one hand he has heard that the codeine is extracted, and on the other hand, he has heard that the codeine is just made or reformulated somehow from morphine. Swim is no chemistry major or scientist, but this is just what he has read.
     
  14. Spucky

    Spucky Palladium Member

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    AW: Re: Differences between opiates and (semi)synthetic opioids

    Is Buprenorphine not made of Thebaine? :confused:

    Edito:
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  15. $limJim

    $limJim Silver Member

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    if thebaine is a minor constituent, then one would be better off making some heroin, as it would produce more (i would think). All of this intrigues Slim. He really needs to study up in the Opiate Chemistry forum.
     
  16. morning_glory

    morning_glory Newbie

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    Semi-synthetic means just what it sounds; it is only half-fake. A good example of this is heroin. Heroin comes from morphine, which comes from opium, meaning heroin is derived from a natural source. In order to make heroin from morphine, however, you have to acetylate the morphine, a process done in a laboratory. Heroin is thus half-fake, or semi-synthetic. You can't harvest any plant or flower in the world and get heroin out of it naturally, but with a little chemical tweaking you can make it out of something you CAN get out of a flower.

    Make sense?
     
  17. Birkill

    Birkill Newbie

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    Swim read somewhere that codeine although 2% present in opium most pharmacutical codeine is made via the demethyalation of morphine but then when taken is then demethylated back into small amounts of morphine via a matabolite enzyme in the liver(or sumin, not sure) but im not 100% on this as swims no chemist, i also read that the enzyme need for the process is missing in aprox 7% of white people!?
     
  18. dyingtomorrow

    dyingtomorrow Palladium Member R.I.P.

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    Re: AW: Re: Differences between opiates and (semi)synthetic opioids

    Yes, buprenorphine, oxycodone and naloxone I believe are the major opiate or opiate related drugs which are created from it.

    I don't know the exact answer to this original question, but I believe there is a difference between "synthetic" in terms of creation process, and "synthetic" in terms of medical/chemical definition. For instance, I recall reading that they discovered a method to "synthesize" morphine out of petroleum and/or coal tar; but that doesn't make it "synthetic."

    The difference between hydromorphone/diacetylmorphine and something like buprenorphine or fentanyl is that the former are just the actual morphine molecule with a lipid soluble "delivery system" for the BBB, whereas the latter are significantly molecularly rearranged/chemically altered from the natural precursor.
     
  19. I_8_my yellow crayon

    I_8_my yellow crayon Newbie

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    An opiate, is any of the natural unadultrated alkaloids found in the papaver somniferum poppy/other poppy breeds.

    An opioid is a drug that is synthesized from these alkaloids, thus semi-synthetic, fully synthetic. It is swims understanding that when a drug is categorized by the fda or whoever runs the show in the pertaining country, it is categorized by what its main action is. Take tramadol for instance. It has anti-depressant properties, in which it acts as a serotonin-norepinephrine reputake inhibitor. But it also acts on the mu-opioid receptor. Since it is thought out to have most of its action on the opioid receptor, and it is fully synthetic, it is classified as an opioid. Actually, let swim reword that, since this drug acts on the opioid receptor, (very poorly IMO, only 1/6000 of morphine) and provides analgesia, its classified as an opioid.

    There will be a day, very very far from now, when there is no longer use for morphine. It will be hundreds and hundreds of years, but eventually it will happen. Right now, if we take a look at what is prescribed anually in just North America, the semi-synthetics are taking the cake. And the further and further we go down the road, the closer and closer we get to fully synthetics.

    Semi-synthetic drugs made from thebaine:

    Thebaine is the most poisonous opium alkaloid and is scarcely used medically. It is even omitted from some of the preparations of mixed opium alkaloids which are used as soluble substitutes for opium. However, it is converted into several other narcotics which have medical use: hydrocodone (dihydrocodeinone), acetyldihydrocodeinone and oxycodone (dihydrohydroxycodeinone).

    This question is kind a hard one to answer. There are multiple answers. Basically every opiate is an opioid(technically). An opioid is classified as ANY drug that has activity on the opioid receptor in the central nervous system or gastrointestinal tract. Basically to sum it up.

    Opiate- Any of the natural alkaloids in the papaver somniferum poppy that act on the mu-opioid receptors in their natural form.

    Opioid- Any drug that acts on the mu-opioid receptors in the body, being natural, or synthetic.

    Hope this helps, sorry for the long winded post.