How Long Does Morphine Stay In Your System

Morphine is a narcotic (opioid) drug that is mainly used as an analgesic. It is prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain. Morphine is available in many brands that include an extended-release form of morphine as well, which is used for relieving a certain type of pain known as around-the-clock pain that continually goes on for consecutive hours.

Being a narcotic drug, morphine is commonly misused and abused for recreational purposes, such as euphoria, relaxation, sedation and decreasing restlessness and anxiety. Common names of brands containing morphine include: Arymo ER, Kadian, MorphaBond ER, and MS Contin.

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How does morphine work

Morphine is an agonist agent. Thus, morphine affects the central nervous system through fully binding to 3 types of receptors in the brain, including mu, cappa and delta. Each of these receptors is responsible for certain functions in the brain. For example, morphine inhibits certain neurons known as GABA inhibitory neurons, which are simply responsible for prolonging the time of pain sensation. That’s how morphine relieves pain, causes euphoria, relaxation and induces anxiolysis.

How long does morphine stay in your system

How long morphine stays in your system actually depends on many factors, including your age, your body mass, whether you’re a light or a heavy morphine consumer, as well as the administered dose. For example, if you administer an overdose, morphine is much likely to stay longer in your system. In addition, your metabolic rate of drugs also determines how quickly your system is able to get rid of morphine and its metabolites.

One more factor can affect how much morphine stays in your system is which dosage form you administered.

Generally, research shows that the average half-life of morphine ranges from 2 to 4 hours. Thus, up to 24 hours post-administration, morphine is likely to stay in your system.

Epidural injection of morphine

In case of administrating morphine an epidural injection, research shows the half-life to range from 90 minutes to 6 hours. In this case, up to 36 hours post ‚Äďadministration, morphine is likely to stay in your system.

Epidural injection of extended-release morphine

The administration of the extended release form of morphine results in prolonging the time morphine stays in your system. For example, the half-life of morphine extended to 16.2, 20, and 23.91 hours, after the administration of 10mg, 15mg, and 20mg, respectively.

That said, up to 5.9 days post-administration, morphine is likely to stay in your system.

Will morphine show on a drug test?

YES, morphine will show on a drug test, as drug tests mainly check for certain substances, such as opioids, which include morphine. However, that significantly depends on the factors shown below, which are able to result in showing negative results.

  1. the type of the tests you are required to undergo
  2. the time the test is performed. What a certain test can detect may not be detected by another test at the same moment.
  3. individual factors that differ from a person to another, as shown above, such as the functioning ability of your system to eliminate morphine.

How long is morphine detectable

Blood and urine

Within half an hour post administration, and up to 24 hours, morphine is much likely detectable in your blood. Surely, that duration will be prolonged, in case of administering the extended release form for longer than 5.9 days. On the other side, both forms of morphine are likely detectable in urine within 2-3 days post-administration.

Hair, saliva and fingernails

Similar to other opioids, up to 10 weeks post-administration, morphine is likely detectable in your hair; while in saliva, morphine can be detected within 2-3 days after the last dose. Fingernails are rarely considered for morphine testing.

What drug tests will show the presence of morphine in the system

How is morphine stored in the body

Within 30 minutes post administration, morphine rises in your blood till it reaches its peak plasma concentration. Around 2%-12% of the administered dose of morphine remains unchanged in the system, and so is excreted.

Within an average half-life of 2-4 hours, the body eliminates morphine from your system, as follows: around 7%-10% of the administered dose is excreted through feces; while around 90% is excreted through urine within 24 hours post-administration.

Morphine tends to be stored in hair more than it does in fingernails or saliva. 1-cm hair length is likely to store amounts of morphine within half an hour post-administration; while it takes longer time to be stored in distal hair. A few proportions of morphine stay in your saliva for around 2-3 days.


How Long Does Morphine Stay In Your System
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  • Updated December 20, 2017
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Daniel Miller

Hey there! I'm Daniel, a 35 years old Ph.D. in pharmacology and a member of THC Detox. My research into cannabis shows how cannabis affects health, including how cannabinoids can be used in the treatment of various diseases. I've got a long list of scientific and medical publications that show the positive effects of cannabis clearly.

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