Definition

The principal alkaloid in opium and the prototype opiate analgesic and narcotic. Morphine has widespread effects in the central nervous system and on smooth muscle.

Description

Morphine is only found in individuals that have used or taken this drug. It is the principal alkaloid in opium and the prototype opiate analgesic and narcotic. Morphine has widespread effects in the central nervous system and on smooth muscle. The precise mechanism of the analgesic action of morphine is unknown. However, specific CNS opiate receptors have been identified and likely play a role in the expression of analgesic effects. Morphine first acts on the mu-opioid receptors. The mechanism of respiratory depression involves a reduction in the responsiveness of the brain stem respiratory centers to increases in carbon dioxide tension and to electrical stimulation.It has been shown that morphine binds to and inhibits GABA inhibitory interneurons. These interneurons normally inhibit the descending pain inhibition pathway. So, without the inhibitory signals, pain modulation can proceed downstream.

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