I bought a few sticks of opium incense yesterday, and it posed some questions.

  1. My bro, with info from people who know people, told me that real opium smells like gasoline instead of the wonderful musky aroma of the incense.

  2. My mom asked me how they gather it. While I know how they get the resin(which I will not divulge), but how do they get it when it forms? Do they scrape it off? Seems very labor-intensive.

Disclaimer: I do not advocate drug use. I don’t want this thread to turn into an IMHO thread on recreationsl drug use, or a GD thread on legality. Moderators and Admins, if, for any reason, yor feel that the first, second, or both questions are taboo, please edit/delete this thread.


Don’t know what kind of O your brother got his hands on, but it was probably fake or ultra nasty. All the opium I’ve ever smelled (at numerous concerts/festivals/parties) has smelled exactly like the incense. As far as harvesting, the opium is scraped from the poppy, or at least that’s how they used to do it. I can imagine it’s labor intensive, and I’d also bet that there isn’t a minimum wage in most opium producing countries…

I said tasted not smelled.

Red Dragon:
Smoked opium only a few times about 17 years ago, but I don’t think it smelled like gasoline. My best friend and I smoked a ball I bought over several days, and I think we would have noticed a gasoline-like smell.

well, in chimes my brother threll. Thanks for the replies everyone! And why doesn’t anyone eat opium anymore? Or did they ever?

Hey, red_dragon, I b’lieve that Opium-scented incense is referring to Yves Saint-Laurent’s popular perfume, which is a blend of rose, carnation, sandalwood, pepper, lily of the valley, and clove. The perfume first appeared in the mid-70’s, and was marketed with an Oriental allure. I really don’t know what the dried latex of the poppy plant smells like, but I’ll be willing to bet that the current market value wouldn’t be wasted on any incense one could easily afford.

Opium grows all over the place in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. It was originally brought there by Chinese immigrants in the early 1900’s. In the 1970’s the state decided it would hunt down each and every opium poppy that grew on the island but they seemed to have missed the few patches that I know about. Also, when people turn over the soil in their gardens they sometimes bring century-old seeds to the surface which just result in thousands of poppy seeds littering the soil the next fall. In other words, the opium poppy is very difficult to contain.

I have both smoked opium and extracted the sap(tar) from the bulbs. It has a very distinct and lovely floral scent and smells/tastes just slightly like the opium-scented incenses that I have smelled. I keep wanting to say that it smells like bubblegum, but without the sweet smell to it.

Tar opium is extracted by slicing vertically along the sides of a live green bulb, still on the stalk, so if you look down from the top the slices will look like the spokes of a bicycle. The sap will then seep out and turn brown as it dries and hardens. It will be extremely sticky until it has had plenty of drying time.

I have no idea as to how heroin is then extracted from the tar.

if, for the incense, they could scrape non-narcotic resin from other varieties of poppy? I can’t believe that incense containing real opium could be sold legally.

No experience with opium incense, but all the opium I ever smoked had a delightful sweet taste/smell. Yumm. Similar to some hash (which should not be surprising). I’ll try to come up with a legal comparison. Nothing like gas IME. Of course, YMMV.

My experiences with opium can be divided into 2 categories:

  1. the “opium” was a black malleable tar that smelled like opium incense
  2. the “opium” was a hard red rock.

I do not know which is true opium or what the deal is. I have been told that the black stuff is actually often referred to as “sopium” which is opium cut with opium incense. I have rarely gotten much from this, though I’ve seen this much more often than the other.

The red rock had only a slight smell but boy, what a ride!! That sure seems like the good stuff to me.

Well in my humble opinion, I have only had an experience with the red rock looking opium. I thought it was very pure. The only thing I do remember was that the red rock opium made me feel like luggage. I have heard that the black stuff is ‘bunk’ to bring back a word from grad school. BUt I do not have much experience with it.

Also I am not sure how they gather it. But as wishbone has said it is all over the San Juan Islands off Washington. I have seen it. Pretty interesting coincidence.

Let’s get our botanical terms correct here. In plants, bulb refers to a short underground stem surrounded by thickened modified leaves, which store food for and protect the embryonic plant. What you are referring to is the seed pod, not a bulb.
By the way, what is in poppy latex is morphine and codeine (among other narcotics). The morphine is then acetylated to produce diacetylmorphine, A.K.A. heroin.

Taken from: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/opium.htm

Visit a USA natural food store & get some of those nice blue raw poppy seeds. Plant them. You’ll have something pretty similar to ‘opium flowers’. (haven’t tried it, someone suggested it). Dunno if the seeds smell opiumish. I saw legal “opium poppy” seeds for sale on the auction sites. That’s the only way I know how you would get to know what it’s odor is like.

Well, you can legally buy and grow opium poppies. However, as soon as the seed pods are slashed or injured in any way, it becomes highly illegal to own them. So, if you are afraid of cops busting your poppies, keep the bugs away from them!

I’ve been around smack that, when cooked, gave off a mild chemical odor. Could be from the process, mentioned by Doobieous, used to extract the stuff from opium.

It’s actually illegal to do this (I think federal law is involved). The seeds are legal to possess, but you’re not supposed to grow the plants, even though you’d need a lot to derive any usable quantity of opium.

This is one of those situations where the authorities aren’t hypervigilant about tracking down grannies growing a few opium poppies in their garden. However, there are documented cases where narcs have yanked out plants to contain this “dangerous” menace.

I think it best if we curtail any further discussion of how to break the drug laws. I hope the general question has been answered, because this thread is closed.

moderator GQ