“Opium” Lettuce: Nature’s Best Painkiller is Growing in Your Backyard

Chronic pain sufferers are finding a safer, more effective alternative to painkillers like morphine in their backyards.

Known as wild lettuce, bitter lettuce or opium lettuce, Lactuca Virosa grows all over the place in North America and England.

Used in folk medicine for centuries, it’s making a comeback as Fibromyalgia, migraine and chronic pain suffers seek alternatives to dangerous, addictive pharmaceutical painkillers.


It’s a tall, leafy plant with small yellow flowers and a milky, white substance in its stem and leaves with opium-like qualities, but no actual opiates and is totally legal.

It’s called lactucarium, which according to Ask a Prepper “acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to lessen the feeling of pain, just like morphine.”

Heather Callaghan of Natural Blaze notes this is “extremely good news for those with Epstein-Barr Virus, Fibromyalgia, nerve injury, surgical pain and inflammation,” whose pain is often untouched by pharmaceutical drugs.

People are also using the plant for migraines, insomnia, anxiety and asthma.

The leaves and stems can be made into tea, smoked or vaporized.

If it doesn’t grow near you can buy it at a health food store or online as long as it’s legal, which many not be long thanks to its euphoric qualities and recreational use. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is already trying to add wild lettuce to its list of controlled substances.






80 responses to ““Opium” Lettuce: Nature’s Best Painkiller is Growing in Your Backyard”

  1. gloria webber Avatar

    The picture looks like dandelions & thistle…?
    Do you have a picture of wild lettuce ?
    thank you.

    1. Elani Avatar

      It is Wild lettuce in the picture.

      1. Russ J Foulke Avatar

        Wild parsley like grady said. lol.

    2. Alice Mangum Avatar
      Alice Mangum

      Never realized I have some of this growing in my back yard, thought to be dandelion but the flowers do look like those from the lettuce family that are in my garden. And I had pulled them all up.

    3. elaine burgess Avatar
      elaine burgess

      its really hard to distinguish because i find pics of thistle like plants that say they are it too!

      1. Rich Avatar

        Wild lettuce is the only one that will ooze white milk when you score it.

        1. RB Avatar

          Thistle oozes while milk when it’s scored or scarred.

    4. Russ J Foulke Avatar

      No that wild parsley, just like Grady said it was. LMAO.

  2. deborah donnelly Avatar
    deborah donnelly

    Can the seeds be boughten,then you would at least have them to fall back on legal or not.When you are suffering with joint pain in knees,hands,back.You also have fibro you need something for relief for osteo arthritis etc,I would be willing to try it I am a canadian some things are not legal here ie;cannabis.Much sooner try something natural

    1. p b Avatar
      p b

      Look up Golden Paste. Easy to make without gathering weeds. Very effective.

      1. Alice Mangum Avatar
        Alice Mangum

        You might have some in your yard. I pulled mine up not realizing it was one of those wild edibles

    2. Jana Avatar

      Turmeric pills/supplement. Available from Nature Made. Dose for osteoarthritis is 4 x 500mg pills daily. My husband takes 3 daily, with meals and had tremendous pain reduction in about a week. Best absorbed if you eat fat (meat, butter, avocado) when you take it. Black pepper (on your food) also helps absorption.

      1. Alice Mangum Avatar
        Alice Mangum

        I use fresh tumeric, even grew some last year and make ginger, tumeric green tea. Also like golden milk, made from tumeric paste, dash of pepper

      2. Lauren Avatar

        Thank you! 🙂

    3. Steve Avatar

      Maoris no it as Puha it is a regular part of our diet seeds are collected from the flower which turns white and fluffy and you rub the fluff and the seeds drop out

    4. Kelly Avatar

      Krill oil or Turmeric curcumin with bioperine is absolutely amazing for all of those pains ..but do research as well as they cannot be used with blood thinners / lower blood pressure / lower blood sugar levels etc ..so if you are on meds for these (excluding blood thinners) these will kill several birds woth one stone my auntie could barely walk with her knee trouble ..she was skeptical at first as moat with natural meds but was at the point that she would try anything as prednisone had so many side effects and others made her sick .she is still in shock at how fast the pain has subsided ..now she wants natural fpr everything.. You have nothing to lose but to try he western doctor frowned upon it and told her it would not be effective ..but to her surprise its amazing and as natural remedies fix problems in the body where as pharmaceutical just cover up symptoms..hence the reason the government wants to make these remidies illegal ..they want us using things that they profit from and could care less about our health as long as their pockets are being filled and we remain sick..profit and population control is what it is sadly..back im the day there was far less sickness and these old remidies make people better ..not pills..good luck to you

  3. Adrianna Avatar

    Could you post more about this plant, what is looks like.
    Thank you.

  4. Julie Myers Avatar
    Julie Myers

    It would be nice if you would include photos of the flower and what it looks like when just coming up, i.e. it’s entire life cycle.

    1. Candyce Avatar

      Google it

  5. jane Avatar

    where can I get this at please

    1. Wigema Avatar

      In your back yard, along fencrs and walls, hot w/ dappled sunlight usually…tends to stand out from the crowd at feet tall rather than inches…

  6. Bonnie Avatar

    How about a decent picture of it. Is it the same as prickles lettuce?

  7. Sarona Rautenbach Avatar
    Sarona Rautenbach

    Thank you. Is this the same as Cannabis oil? I do suffer a lot with Osteoarthritis and the pain is terrible – both knees, back, shoulders and even my fingers are now affected. I wear thick knee braces and a back brace. Rub ins and heat helps a bit. What do you suggest? Kind regards, mrs Sarona Rautenbach

    1. Jan Erickson Avatar

      Hi Sarona

      I’m in clinical remission from severe rheumatoid arthritis and I healed using cannabis medicines I made. The drugs did nothing but keep me ill. But wild lettuce is not the same as cannabis oil. Cannabis oil is extracted from cannabis bud and it’s really strong medicine. I use a MegaHome oil distiller to make my cannabis oil.

      Wild lettuce, on the other hand, grows everywhere and is considered a weed by those folks who either aren’t herbalists or who simply aren’t aware of this plant’s pain killing properties. I let it grow in patches on my property and harvest it throughout the summer and then make tincture from it.

      Wild lettuce can be also used in tea so I make sure to dry a bunch to add to other teas I make. It can also be infused into a carrier oil and then either used that way on sore joints or if combined with beeswax as a salve.

      You also may want to check with your own care provider to see if there might be any harmful interactions with other medications you’re taking especially if you intend to ingest any of it.

      Cannabis can also be tinctured and used as a topical spray on joints which I use daily and it also works well. I’ve not tried using my wild lettuce tincture that way, but I could do so and I’ll bet it would be helpful as well. But if I was going to do that with the wild lettuce I would probably use rubbing alcohol to make the topical spray instead of vodka since I wouldn’t be ingesting any of it.

      Anyway, I hope this helps a little. I have some understanding of what you’re experiencing even though mine is RA instead of OA. Pain is pain and it’s awful no matter what the source.


      1. Vicki Gammon Avatar
        Vicki Gammon

        Tincture with lettuce?interesting.You sound like who I can learn from! Neck issues are keeping me from getting kratom tincture started myself.Awaiting surgery.

  8. Kat Avatar

    I’ve tried it, it Works!
    I suffer from chronic pain due to Scoliosis.
    Not much touches my pain, but this does.

    1. Diane Hyde Avatar
      Diane Hyde

      So how do you use the plant?? Do you eat the leaves, use the milk??

      1. Jane Avatar

        I dry it and make tea.

    2. Don Avatar

      How do u use it for pain

  9. M Avatar

    Interested. More info olease.

  10. Keith Smith Avatar
    Keith Smith

    I see it just outside -Does it work for Phantom pain? I’m a leg amputee

    1. Brian Hollis Avatar
      Brian Hollis

      Hi Keith,

      Check out this ted talk on that subject! Would be great if it would help you out.


  11. Shelly Hydorn Avatar
    Shelly Hydorn

    Cool my only problem is I do not like tea or smoke how else could I use it. I have Fibro and other nerve issues and lots of pain and insomnia and asthma I refuse to take pain meds and need something

    1. Mitchell Avatar

      You don’t like tea or like to smoke and won’t take pain meds. So you need to decide which you like less…your pain…or meds or tea and or smoking this plant. Sounds like a fairly easy decision to me unless your first name is Princess.

      1. Kathy Avatar

        You cant just eat it?

      2. Luke Avatar

        I would like a smokable form do you know where I can find that?

  12. Sharon Schinke Avatar
    Sharon Schinke

    Your article on “opium” lettuce was interesting. Unfortunately the information given was lacking. It would help to know what you are looking for. Your photos were of the stalk of the plant. There should have also been one of the top of the plant and technical information as to how high it grows, how long and wide the leaves are and the circumference of the stem. It could be growing in my yard but I don’t actually know what I am looking for. Thank you.

    1. Daniel Rudy Avatar
      Daniel Rudy

      Just look it up then. You know the scientific name is Lactuca Virosa, that is all you need to research identification.

    2. sue Avatar

      i think being a little hush hush about this plant would be wise
      they gave the scientific name
      that’s enough

  13. Lorna Avatar

    When I eat lettuce any kind actually except Cosh I get very il; and I am deadly allergic to opiads – morphine and such like. Do you know anything about that.

    1. JANIS Avatar

      Do you get sick off of pre-cut bagged lettuce only, or even head lettuce that you cut yourself? Reason I ask, is pre-cut bagged lettuce has sulfa in it as a preservative, and I can’t eat it cause I’m allergic to sulfa.

  14. Ellin Callvis Avatar
    Ellin Callvis

    It “acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to lessen the feeling of pain, just like morphine.”

    I understand it works like this:
    Morphine provides endorphins, or stimulates endorphin production in the brain, and it is the endorphins that act to stop or reduce pain.

  15. Tim Avatar

    Better pictures would be helpful, as stated more than once above…..

    1. Alan Avatar

      And replied to more than once

  16. Theora Avatar

    Leaf lettuce has milky sap and looks a lot like this when it gets overgrown. Can w eget a better botanical name and info? thank you.

  17. G Avatar

    Are there any scientific studies to document that either has any beneficial effects or that it is safe for human ingestion?

    1. Steve Avatar

      Maori eat it as a regular part of our diet during winter the taste is a aquired taste quite tangy quite bitter but goes mean with meat and potatoes was surprised when I moved to Aussie to find my lawn was thick with it had the mean feed

  18. Ethan Blevins Avatar
    Ethan Blevins

    Guys, do a little research for yourself. Lets not all be so helpless. It took me all of fifteen minutes to research this plant and its different varieties, find it in the wild, and utilize it. Fend for yourself and don’t count on someone else to hold your hand all the time. That goes a very long way in itself towards the process of healing.

    1. Tom Avatar

      You could’ve at least shared a link while you berated half the world.

      1. Kathy Avatar

        Read Ethan’s first sentence.

    2. Debra Avatar

      really…I thank you and appreciate that you took the time to share this info…

    3. Sheilagh Avatar

      Hallelujah! Funny how some source gives enough information to help you help yourself, but by and large we want them to do the rest of the work to get them the exact information they want…and I’ve seen many different things wanted information wise. People, take the scientific name, and google it. Then add anything you didn’t get about it, photos, click images to see thousands, uses, add that word after the name. Nobody’s helpless here. Personally, thanks for the info, I’m off to google this!

    4. Anon Avatar

      Well gee, why write an article in the first place with so much information lacking?

    5. Laurel Avatar

      I prefer using articles as springboards to further research on my own. However…I am happy to share what I find freely and cheerfully. An article should always have source and/or reference material–helps lend credibility, and really is a help!

  19. Beth Cochran Avatar
    Beth Cochran

    Help Identifying wild opium lettuce – YouTube
    Video for Opium lettuce▶ 0:56

  20. Rashell Avatar

    Do you make the tincture with the roots, stems, leaves? All of the above?

  21. Nunya Avatar

    Did you guys really not clue in to what plant they are talking about?
    It’s the damn dandelion plant and leaves!
    Idiots don’t know how to read now a days, everything has to be dumbed down for everyone.

    1. Daniel Rudy Avatar
      Daniel Rudy

      That’s not a Dandelion plant in the picture. It does look like wild lettuce in the picture. Maybe you should educate yourself.

    2. sue Avatar

      it’s those prickly weeds
      dandelions are not prickly
      they look like dandelions
      but grow taller

    3. Rose Avatar

      Wild lettuce looks just like its name. It grows up to about 3 ft tall. It is not dandelion.

    4. Debra Avatar

      not the dandelion!

  22. JL Avatar

    For the 50 people who keep asking for better pics, are you unable to access Google images? Literally in the time it took you to reply, you would have 9,000,000 results. Just do it yourself. Geez.

  23. Laurie Scott Avatar
    Laurie Scott

    The picture looks like hogweed, I thought this was a sick joke at first. Hogweed is toxic and cause a severe burn if you get the sap on your skin. People looking for this plant need to be sure what they are harvesting.

  24. MJM Avatar

    Watch the posted YouTube video on YouTube for more information. There are a lot of videos there once you get there.

  25. Linda Richardson Avatar
    Linda Richardson

    Is pain killer in wild lettuce addictive?

  26. Richard Avatar


  27. Luke Avatar

    Does anyone know a link or a place to buy a form that can be smoked? What is the most effective way for pain relief? I suffer from chronic pain and would prefer either a smokable form or a liquid extract to be drank but would prefer a smokable form.

  28. Shelley Avatar

    Typical for them to want to put it on the list. Obviously takes away some customers for BigPharm . Thanks for this !

  29. Tabitha Avatar

    My family has been using this since I was little. We call it milk weed and it does wonders topically on brusies, multiple bug bites and small cuts. My mother was born in Appalachia country and my grandmother had many different uses for so many herbs and weeds.

    1. sue Avatar

      i remember milk weed

    2. Debra Avatar

      it’s not milk weed, that’s the plant the Monarch Butterflies feed on

  30. sue Avatar

    that video!
    so annoying
    that robot voice is unbearable at 5:30 am

  31. Paul Avatar

    Well good luck to them trying to control wild lettuce lol

  32. Vicki Gammon Avatar
    Vicki Gammon

    Get the turmeric with pepper complex. Have store brands at CVS.

  33. Debra Avatar

    I have to say, I feel sorry for most of the people that commented on this post, how do you last a day in your state of mind?It’s scary to see so many incapable of critical thinking…not being rude but really…who dresses u’all?

  34. Steve Avatar

    Look up puha that what maori call it.It is part of the dandelion family

  35. Foraging feast Avatar
    Foraging feast

    Is this the same a sow thistle?

  36. Reenie Cvalenti Avatar
    Reenie Cvalenti

    Thank you for sharing this info. Healings sent your way