Morphine is the most effective naturally-occurring compound used to relieve pain. It also induces sleep and produces euphoria (a feeling of well-being). Morphine is an opiate (derived from opium) and is named for Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams.
Morphine's Advantages and Disadvantages
Morphine is a narcotic (it dulls the senses). It acts on the central nervous system to allow a person to tolerate more pain than would otherwise be possible. Morphine produces a calming effect which protects the body in traumatic shock. Its greatest disadvantage is its addictiveness.
In 1898 the Bayer corporation synthesized methadone from morphine and marketed it as an antidote to morphine addiction. Methadone is a synthetic (artificial) drug that is less addictive than morphine. Today, methadone is often used in place of morphine as a pain killer. It is also used for the treatment of morphine and heroin addictions.