Prickly Lettuce

prickly lettuce prickly lettuce1 prickly lettuce2 prickly lettuce3 prickly lettuce4 prickly lettuce5

Lactuca Virosa is the scientific term for it, and many people have used it in place of addictive prescription pain medicine. It’s a leafy and tall plant, with small yellow buds, and could be grown right out your door. More commonly found in North America and England, it’s a cousin to the lettuce we typically see at the grocery store. It’s also referred to as bitter lettuce, or more appropriately for the purpose discussed here, opium lettuce.The reason it’s referred to as opium lettuce, is due to the pain relieving and sedative effects that it has been known to produce through a white substance found in the stem and leaves.


This milky substance is called lactucarium. And, while it doesn’t contain any opiates, it has similar side effects when used – it acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to lessen the feeling of pain, just like morphine.

Even though it seems to be the best kept secret, it has a history of being used as an alternative to pain relief.

Historical Use

Back in the 19th century, wild lettuce was already being used by some as a substitute to opium. But, it was in the 70’s that it started to gain significant popularity by those wanting a more natural remedy. Individuals were starting to use it for both pain relief, as well as recreational purpose.

In the earlier days, people using wild lettuce prepared it a couple different ways. One way was to cook the plant in a pan of water and sugar mix, until it reduced to a thick syrup-like consistency. While this was an effective form, it was quite bitter even with the sugar added. The most common form however, was drying the stem and leaves to use as an herbal tea.

The tea remains popular today. But, it’s also being dried for smoking, or vaporizing. If you don’t care to grow it yourself, it can also be purchased as a dried herb, extract, or resin substance.

Other Benefits

Here are the more popular reasons people are gravitating towards this natural pain killer and medicinal plant:

  • Migraines – People who use it for this purpose claim that they experience fewer migraines than they did prior to starting the herb.
  • Insomnia – A frequent use of wild lettuce is by people who have trouble sleeping. It produces a relaxed and euphoric feeling, helping a person fall asleep easier, without the addictive qualities of commonly prescribed sleeping aids.
  • Anxiety – Wild lettuce can act as a mild sedative, allowing people with anxiety to find a reprieve from the stress it causes.
  • Asthma and Cough – Wild lettuce has antitussive properties, which alleviates or suppresses a cough. Also, asthmatic patients who have used opiates notice more episodes if they go through opiate withdrawal. So, the use of wild lettuce instead of prescription opiates, could be a better option for them.

In addition to the above benefits, wild lettuce produces a euphoric state, similar to opiates, even though it does not contain any actual opiate… so it’s perfectly legal.

It has been used to treat a number of ailments including asthma, cough, insomnia, headaches, pain, sore muscles and menstrual problems. In the past, Wild Lettuce has been prepared for use in a number of way. Most commonly, the leaves and stems would be dried and prepared as a tea.

Other times, the plant would be simmered in a pot with water and sugar, and then reduced to form a thick syrup. Though bitter, the effects of these preparations proved quite effective.
While these are the two most traditional means of preparing Wild Lettuce for use, there are a number of more modern options as well.

Wild Lettuce can used to make tea, to gain the benefits of the herb while reducing the amount of smoke in your lungs. It can also be smoked or used in a vaporizer. The herb can be bought in a
dried cut blend, as a powder, or as a resin made from the collected milk or sap
of the plant. An herbal extract is also available. Each product of Wild Lettuce contains lactucarium,
though it is more concentrated in the resin.

Common Uses

Anxiety: Wild Lettuce has a mild sedative effect which makes it great for anxiety.

Sleep and Insomnia: Wild Lettuce has long been used to treat insomnia.
The relaxed euphoric feeling given by the herb makes falling asleep much

To relieve Pain and Tension:
Wild Lettuce is also called opium lettuce because of its opiate like effect. Not only does it reduce pain, it has been known to cause a mild opiate like high. This quality makes it very useful in relieving pain.

For Migraine / Headaches:
Wild Lettuce is believed to reduce the frequency and severity of
migraine headaches. Many people who use Wild Lettuce regularly report fewer headaches than before they began using the herb.

For Asthma

Wild Lettuce was originally used as a treatment for asthma. Even now, many people claim that their use of the herb is responsible for fewer and less severe asthma related problems.

As a mild Euphoric

One of the most prominent reasons people choose Wild Lettuce is for the opiate like effect. Wild Lettuce causes a feeling of mild euphoria very similar to opiates, though it contains no actual opiates. Not only is this completely legal, it provides an affect similar to opiates without altering the results of a drug test.

Methods of Use

Diffusion: (with a diffuser or vaporizer) Turns dried Wild Lettuce into a mist that can be inhaled.

As an Infusion or Tea: The leaves and stems of Wild Lettuce, as well as the prepared
powder, can be used to make an infusion or tea.

As a prepared Tincture (liquid herbal extract): A few ml of Wild Lettuce before bed can help with insomnia, asthma, and migraine headaches.

As a Smoking Blend: Wild lettuce can be smoked alone or as part of an herbal blend. The effects of smoking the herb are milder than that of the tea, but take effect sooner. The herb itself is very bitter, and does not taste well when smoked alone.


Wild Lettuce has a naturally bitter taste. However, when made into a tea with a few spoonfuls of honey, it can be an enjoyable drink. Some people claim that it is an acquired taste. After their first few cups of the tea, they believe it tastes much better. The initial results of Wild Lettuce are short lived, but the herb seems to have a continued positive effects on overall health, reducing the severity and frequency of a number of ailments when used regularly.

Users of Wild Lettuce report:

  • Relaxation
  • Sleepiness
  • Slight sedation
  • Feeling less anxiety
  • Relief of aches and pains
  • A mild Euphoria
  • A decrease in the symptoms of asthma and migraine headaches

Side Effects

Since wild lettuce has such a sedative effect, a common side effect of the herb is a temporary reduction in sexual desire and performance.


While Wild Lettuce was studied and used as a drug for a number of years, the Food and Drug Administration has un-scheduled the herb. This means that it is legal to grow, sell, buy, or own. This makes it a great choice when seeking relief from pain, migraine headaches, and asthma. The euphoric effect of Wild Lettuce can provide a mild, legal high.

Preperation: I purchased 30 grams (a tiny bit over an ounce) of dried wild lettuce from a local herb/occult store. This I put in a medium sized glass jar to which I then added 1.5 bottles of 91% iso alcohol. I shook it well and then set it in a dark place for 24 hours (coming back and shaking it a couple of times during the wait). I then filtered this mixture (which was quite black by this time) through a wire mesh strainer into a large glass pan (apparently it is important not to use a metal pan). I then picked up handfulls of the soaking wet lettuce and squeezed it as hard as I could to wring out all the liquid.

The pan was then set in a well ventilated room with a fan blowing on it and the lettuce went back into the jar with more alchohol and the process was repeated two more times, adding the resulting liquid to the same pan as the first. After three times of doing a alchohol extraction to get all fat soluable chemicals out, I then did one with water. (same thing, but using water instead of alcohol.) For those of you keeping track of the math, this entire process should took about 4 days.

After the last extraction, the pan was left in front of the fan for 2 days (until the liquid had evaporated). (Note: apparently the active chemicals break down under heat so thats why it needs this ‘cold extraction’ method)
What was left was 6 grams of a dark greenish/brown (almost black) tar-like substance. Thats the ‘lettuce opium’.

Useage notes: I use a ‘opium pipe’ as these are designed for stuff like this, although I assume you could use a normal pot-type bowl and just smear the piece of opium to a inside side of the bowl (use tweezers…its messy). Apparently the chemicals dont deal well with heat so you don’t want to actually draw the flame down onto the tar itself, just sorta near it…takes a little practice. The stuff will start bubbling when you are doing it right.

My first experiance was doing after having a few beers (had a very lite buzz). Smoked a peice about the size of a pea in a opium pipe. Then I laid back…apparently (according to friends) I was there staring at the ceiling for about 15 minutes although I thought it was only a few seconds. When I tried to get up everything swam and my head was spinning…took a while to orient myself…felt INCREDIBLY drunk. Felt happy, content, serene. This lasted for about an hour at which time I just passed out.(not sure if because of the lettuce opium or just plain tired)

Second experience:
I had been wondering if the first time had been so strong because of the alcohol in my system so this time I decided to try it stone cold sober. Laying in a hot bath I smoked a glob of tar about the size of a pea. Then I laid back and waited (I had made sure there was a clock in plain view just in case I ‘lost track of time’ again). After a few minutes I still felt nothing special so I did another glob of about the same size. Another few minutes and I still felt nothing. Deciding that it was the alcohol that made it so strong before I decided it was time for me to get our of the tub. I pulled the plug and stood up…..and almost fell right back down again. Everything was spinning and I couldn’t feel my body (I had just gotten out of a very hot bath and into rather cold air…I knew I should be cold and needing a robe but I didnt feel a thing…just pleastly numb.) I had just managed to make it to my bedroom when I had to suddenly stumble back to the bathroom for about a minute of dry-heaves. Once these had subsided I made it back to my bed and laid down.

Everything felt soooo nice… I thought I’ll just lay here a bit and let the worst of it wear off before I try moving around anymore…I closed my eyes for a second (seemed like practically a blink) and then I glanced at the clock…I was shocked to find that I had passed out for almost two hours!

In conclusion…if prepared right and done correctly this stuff certainly works but I’m going to have to experiment around a bit to find the perfect dosage for me. ( I am definatly doing this stuff again!)


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