Uma Breve História sobre a Papoula e o Ópio! [Portas da Percepção Ed. 246#]

Portas da Percepção

hempadao 14 novembro, 2013

por Catiusia Gabriel

A papoula, Papaver somniferum, está entre as plantas mais antigas já cultivadas pela humanidade. Talvez também uma das mais antigas formas de inebriar-se que os humanos utilizaram, através da ingestão de compostos psicoativos naturais, encontrados em plantas. Os primeiros hominídeos, ancestrais do homem moderno, já faziam uso dos extratos da papoula, o ópio, ainda no período Neolítico, há mais ou menos 7000 anos. Atualmente são extraídas da planta drogas como morfina e heroína, além de derivados dos diversos outros alcalóides produzidos pela planta. Mesmo sendo uma planta consumida há tanto tempo, ao longo de sua história de uso e de uma ampla dispersão entre diferentes culturas ao redor do mundo, a papoula e seus derivados tornaram-se mais um exemplo da inútil proibição e guerra às drogas.

 

Os primeiros registros do consumo da papoula provêm de sítios arqueológicos na região do rio Reno e Rio Maas na Holanda e datam de aproximadamente 5000 anos. De acordo com as evidências encontradas nesses locais, apenas as sementes eram usadas como alimento, não havendo indícios de uso recreativo da planta. Os efeitos inebriantes da planta teriam sido descobertos somente mais tarde, na Grécia antiga. Os gregos teriam espalhado o uso recreativo do ópio dentre os países árabes e ao norte da África, onde os egípcios foram grandes cultivadores de papoula, sendo encontradas diversas evidências de uso da planta em artefatos históricos preservados.

Em comparação à diversidade cultural e de plantas de poder utilizadas por tribos antigas da América do Sul e Central e no continente africano, existem poucas evidências de uso de plantas enteógenas dentre os antigos povos europeus e mediterrâneos. O ópio constitui um dos poucos registros encontrados de uso recreativo de alguma substância psicoativa dentre os povos do velho mundo. Os primeiros cultivos da planta foram feitos na Mesopotâmia por volta de 4000 anos, pelos Sumérios, que chamavam a papoula como hul gil ou “planta da diversão”. Na civilização romana, o ópio teve grande importância, simbolizando o sono e a morte. Celso, médico romano que viveu no primeiro século da era cristã, recomendava o uso do ópio para o alívio da dor, sendo um dos primeiros autores de formulações médicas contendo os princípios ativos da papoula. Foi a partir dos romanos que as propriedades analgésicas do ópio passaram a ser reconhecidas. Mas a morfina propriamente dita somente foi isolada muito tempo depois, em 1805, pelo farmacologista alemão Friedrich Seturner, que a denominou assim devido à sua relação com Morpheus, o deus dos sonhos. A morfina foi o primeiro alcalóide isolado de uma planta em toda a história.

A introdução do ópio na China teria ocorrido por volta dos anos 500 a 600 d.C., através dos povos árabes. Desde sua introdução, a papoula era utilizada apenas com finalidades medicinais  na China, não havendo qualquer indício de uso recreativo até por volta do século XVII, quando as expedições europeias aportaram por lá e os portugueses “ensinaram” aos chineses uma nova forma de consumir o ópio. Os chineses não tinham o hábito de fumar nada e, com a introdução dos cachimbos de tabaco, passaram a fumar também os extratos da papoula, que antes eram ingeridos. Fumar é uma forma mais eficiente de levar uma droga até o cérebro, comparando-se com a ingestão. Assim, os usuários de ópio na China do século XVII multiplicaram-se, ocasião em que o governo proibiu o consumo da substância. Com a proibição, o consumo aumentou e cresceu exponencialmente, tendo consequências que culminaram na famosa Guerra do Ópio, devido aos interesses comerciais da Inglaterra em vender a droga para os chineses. Curiosamente, a proibição do ópio criou os conhecidos efeitos sociais atuais: só fez aumentar o número de usuários e criou a figura do traficante, no papel da coroa inglesa na época. Há uma notável semelhança com a atual guerra às drogas.

Os problemas sociais do ópio atualmente decaem sobre deter o controle do plantio de papoula e de seus lucros. O maior produtor de papoula no mundo é o Afeganistão e por lá os talibãs controlam toda a produção e venda da droga, explorando a mão de obra num país pobre, criando um ciclo de poder em torno dos lucros. Os fatos históricos da evolução do uso da papoula no mundo, passando de uma planta alimentar à matéria prima para drogas sintéticas alvo de tráfico, evidenciam as semelhanças com o proibicionismo e guerra às drogas atuais. Há uma estreita ligação entre os interesses econômicos e a proibição ou controle do consumo de substâncias psicoativas. O ópio, assim como a canábis, possuem uma longa história de uso in natura, seja como componentes naturais na alimentação ou mesmo para fins recreativos. Mas suas extrações derivadas potencialmente mais concentradas (como heroína, morfina, etc.) é que passam a despertar grandes interesses industriais para produção e geração de lucros



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