Thebaine, similar to morphine and codeine, is an active alkaloid in opium, used in the manufacturing of artificial analgesics such as buprenorphine. It is a natural alkaloid found in the opium poppy plant and it belongs to the same chemical family as codeine and morphine.

Although Thebaine itself doesn’t have significant analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, it serves as an essential precursor in the production of various opioids, including oxycodone, hydrocodone and buprenorphine. These medications are commonly prescribed for pain relief but can also be misused and lead to addiction.

Thebaine has a unique chemical structure that sets it apart from other alkaloids. This structure has contributed to its role as a starting point for synthesizing different opioid drugs, both legal and illegal. Its therapeutic potential is continually being explored, particularly in the development of new medications for pain management and addiction treatment.

Thebaine, a phenanthrene alkaloid found in opium poppy, varies in concentration within opium and is the primary alkaloid in Papaver bracteatum, easily extracted from its capsules and roots. Structurally identified as dehydromorphine 3,6-dimethyl ether, its hydrochloride salt has limited water solubility. Thebaine’s conversion into potent analgesics and drugs of abuse like oxycodone and hydrocodone, including highly analgesic thebaine derivatives known as “Bentley compounds” such as acetorphine and etorphine, presents significant challenges.

Despite these issues, an Expert Group convened by the United Nations in 1976 deemed the conversion risks should not deter thebaine’s therapeutic use. Thebaine primarily stimulates the central nervous system, inducing hyper-irritability and motor activity increases across several animal species with doses leading to convulsions in nearly all tested animals. Its respiratory effects are generally stimulatory, contrasting with its mixed analgesic effects across different species.

Thebaine also influences cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems, showing a decrease in blood pressure and varied effects on intestinal activity. Biochemically, it slightly reduces catecholamine levels and inhibits certain enzymes. Compared to morphine, thebaine is significantly more toxic with lethal doses varying across species, highlighting its potent and complex pharmacological profile.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

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    Rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

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    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

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