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My friend's father has been in a hospital for past couple of weeks. He was involved in a terrible car accident and has a severe spine injury. Two operations have been performed and now his condition is critical, but if he pulls through, he will be able to walk normally. He takes some morphine derivate for the pain and I think I heard that it is not used as it was before, that there are new meds replacing it, like dihydrocodein. How is morphine synthesized from dihydrocodein?

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Honestly, I am not sure at all. And I don't think that morphine is made of codeine, I think it is the other way round. Actually, Codeine should have the similar effect as the morphine, but I don't think it has the same chemical structure. Anyway, the main point is that whatever he is taking will help him dealing with the pain. And I guess doctors are monitoring his condition carefully. I mean, he will not get addicted, but his liver might be damaged if he takes those pain killers for too long.
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Codeine is a Morphine derivative. The Dihydrocodeinone is what is commonly used in the total synthesis of Morphine by K. C. Rice. They both have a very similar structure differing at only three places. A substituent on the phenyl moiety is a Methoxy group (Dihydrocodeinone) rather than a Hydroxy group (Morphine), and in Morphine at the C-2 position there is another Hydroxyl group along with a pi-bond between C-3 and C-4 whereas in Dihydrocodeinone there is a Carbonyl at C-3. From Dihydrocodeinone only 5 steps are required to obtain Morphine.
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Morphine is not synthesized, it is a naturally occurring drug. Dihydrocodienone is synthesized from Thebaiane which occurs naturally in the Poppy. It is used to synthesize many kinds of opiates which are then refered to as semi-synthetic. Dihydrocodeine and dihydrocodeinenone are semi-synthetic opiates
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