The aim of this report is to inform and educate people about the effects and what (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol formally known as Morphine does to the human body and how it can affect Morphine users mental and physical health. Mental health is a vital part of everyone’s everyday life because it is the way we think, feel and make choices. People who have poor mental health struggle with the basic things everyone does e.g. sleeping, work or education, friendships, relationships. Throughout this report it will outline how Morphine is made with the raw chemicals used and the chemical process, Morphine’s Chemical Properties and Functional Groups, how it can be entered into the bloodstream, what organs Morphine comes into contact with, how it affects the brain's neurons response to the neurotransmitters to the brain’s reaction of the receptors and how Morphine can affect your mental and physical health.


Morphine is a natural based drug as it is made from dried Poppy Pod resin and mainly sourced from the Poppy Pod genus Papave Somniferum as this type is highly concentrated in opium. Opium contains ~35 different Alkaloids which is a natural compound containing a lot of Nitrogen. Extracting the morphine from the opium can either be a water process or a chemical based process using harsh chemicals which is explained below.
The chemical formula of Morphine is C17H19N03 and is a white solid that can either be in small rhombic prism crystals for snorting in eating or in a dilute alcohol solution for injection. Morphine has a odorless smell and tastes bitter and has a boiling point of 195 C and a melting point of 255 C. Morphine is soluble in water (1 gram per 5000 mL water), has a pH of 8.5 and has a molecular mass of 285.3 g/mol. In the diagram of the chemical structure that is shown below has several Chemical Functional Groups including Allylic Alcohol, Phenol, Tertiary Amine and Ether. Ether has a pair of aromatic attached to an oxygen atom. Tertiary Amine has 3 aromatic groups with a connecting Nitrogen atom. Phenol is an organic chemical consisting of a hydroxyl group bonding to a linking hydrocarbon.

Figure 1. Allylic Alcohol Structure
Figure 2. Tertiary Amine Structure
Figure 3. Ether Structure
Figure 4. Phenol Structure

The process of extracting the morphine from the opium involves dissolving the opium in boiling water and adding either calcium carbonate, calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide. This process causes the non-morphine alkaloids to precipitate. Then the morphine solution is decanted. Ammonium Chloride is added to the morphine solution that is now calcium morphenate with a pH of 8, as it is cooled the morphine base settles to the bottom of the solution. The solution is decanted onto a cloth and squeezed try and allowed to dry from the sun. This Morphine base is mainly not used by addicts as it doesn’t give a big enough hit as other types of Morphine do.
Figure 5. This images shows the chemical structure of morphine.

Morphine can be entered into the bloodstream in multiple different ways: 
  • Through the mouth using tablets or capsules. 
  • Through the anus using gel coated capsules and absorbed into the rectal blood vessels.
  • Using a hypodermic needle which is the fastest method of getting the effects of the drug as it is directly inserted into the bloodstream. 
  • Subcutaneous needle which injects the drug into the subcutaneous tissue which is just underneath the top layer of skin which deposits the drug into the bloodstream.
  • Can be inhaled or snorted in powder form, the powder enters the bloodstream by using the mucus membranes in the nose and is then absorbed into the bloodstream
  • Can be injected into the spinal cord for spinal anesthesia.

Once the morphine reaches and enters the bloodstream it gets carried to the liver where the majority of the drug gets digested and only about 40 - 50% of the drug enters the central nervous system.
Subcutaneous injection (the fastest method of getting the hit from the drug) will cause the morphine filled blood levels to show up in just 20 minutes and in tablet form taken through the mouth will take about 30 minutes for the morphine blood levels to show up.
When the drug is being digested about 60% of the morphine is converted into morphine-3-glucuronide and about 6 - 10% becomes morphine-6-glucuronide this is because of the phase 2 metabolism enzyme UDP-glucuronosyl transferase-2B7, formally known as UDPGT 2B7.
90% of the morphine is excreted from the urine at about 24 hours after the drug is taken. Morphine has a half life of 120 minutes and the drug stores itself in body fat so the drug is detectable even after the 24 hours.

Morphine has a huge effect on the human body’s neurons as the body itself creates its own opioids known as endogenous opioids and Morphine creates its own opioids known as exogenous. Morphine binds to the same receptors as the endogenous opioids do. Morphine affects the brains mu and delta receptors which controls the GABA inhibitory system which is used to reduce the amount of dopamine to be released for those “good feeling” pleasures but Morphine opioids reverse that entirely making a constant supply of dopamine and keeping that “good feeling” a constant pleasure until the drug is excreted. Dopamine also has a role in this as Dopamine has been found that it re enforces to what it likes, when Morphine is taken Dopamine is released because of the massive high Morphine gives to the body and the body remembers the high and Dopamine re enforces that to make sure that the body gets that high again.


Morphine’s physical effects have a major impact on the brain and result in some terrible life long habits, e.g. losing interest in your family, friends and work and more concentrated on getting that high from Morphine and as the drug is used more often the withdrawl effects will get progressively worse over time which causes the user to continue to use the drug to make sure they don’t receive the withdrawal effects. 

Morphine’s Side effects include the following; Regular Chest Pains, Nausea, Loss of appetite, Cyanosis (discoloured blue tinted skin) and Different breathing / heart rate pattern.

Morphine long term effects; Ignorant towards physical health, Become active in criminal activity, Obtaining / using Morphine as a much higher priority over everything else.

Morphine withdrawal effects within the first 24 hours of first use include; Excessive Sweating, Anxiety, Inability To Sleep, Eyes tearing up.

Morphine withdrawal effects after the 24 hours of use; High Blood Pressure, Rapid Heart BPM, Blurry Vision, Continuous Vomiting.

Morphine’s mental effects also play a massive role as stated above losing contact in family, friends and losing interest in working can impact you and your well being as being alone can result into depression. Morphine also makes general well being a state where they do not enjoy eating healthily and maintaining healthy relationships with either friends, family and work. This could be significantly reduced by seeking therapy often and having a professional nutritionist.     

Morphine is a highly addictive drug and very dangerous to take, in 2014 it was recorded that there were 4,022 deaths that were related to Morphine overdose and doses over 200mg in 1 day will result to either death or critically injured and just 60mg in one sitting will result to instant death. When overdosed on Morphine the user becomes very tired and has the inability to talk and has a very irregular breathing pattern (6 - 10) breaths a minute. Morphine overdoses can be treated with Naloxone as it is very quick to get into the bloodstream but has a very high chance of not being able to fix the overdose and causing terminal damage, if Naloxone does fix the overdose the patient will have emergency on speed dial at all times and will have regular check ups to see if there is any damage being caused to the brain.


Throughout this report you have been shown the production of how Morphine is made, its chemical properties, functional groups, how Morphine can enter the body through multiple ways and affect certain parts of the brain and how Morphine can affect your mental and physical health. As stated above there are many ways Morphine can affect the user’s mental and physical health which has very dangerous outcomes. People will continue to use Morphine and not realise the side effects or long term impacts Morphine will have one people’s lives, as the drug is so addictive the user will become inseparable from it unless the user seeks help early on. Morphines withdrawl effects will become significantly worse over time causing the user to continually use it so they don’t get the horrible withdrawal effects, this effects the user’s physical health as the body cannot recover from the Morphine hit and causing the body to be unable to recover to its regular state. 

Public Education Piece

For my public education piece I made a brochure to advise the general public of the information showed in this report.


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Image Referencing

(Figure 1) PubChem, (2004). Allylic Alcohol Structure Function Groups. Retrieved From

(Figure 2) Chemistry Drills, (2005). Functional Groups. Retrieved From

(Figure 3) Chemistry Drills, (2005). Functional Groups. Retrieved From

(Figure 4) PubChem, (2004) Phenol Functional Groups. Retrieved From