(Science: chemistry) The inspissated juice of the papaver somniferum, or white poppy.
Opium is obtained from incisions made in the capsules of the plant, and the best flows from the first incision. It is imported into Europe and America chiefly from the Levant, and large quantities are sent to china from india, persia, and other countries. It is of a brownish yellow colour, has a faint smell, and bitter and acrid taste. It is a stimulant narcotic poison, which may produce hallicinations, profound sleep, or death. It is much used in medicine to soothe pain and inflammation, and is smoked as an intoxicant with baneful effects. Opium joint, a low resort of opium smokers.
Origin: L, fr. Gr. Poppy juice, dim. Of vegetable juice.