Poppy seeds carry trace elements of opiates like morphine, codeine, and thebaine. Foods or drinks incorporating these seeds can occasionally lead to a positive opiate drug test, potentially creating incorrect implications for drug consumption. However, the opiate concentration in the seeds is usually too minor to elicit noticeable impacts or pose a health threat.
You might be curious to learn how many poppy seeds can be eaten safely without positive results for opiates. This article examines the facts and myths about poppy seeds and opiates.
What are poppy seeds?
The opium poppy plant, scientifically known as Papaver somniferum, is a species of flowering plant. Poppy seeds are minor oilseeds obtained from the poppy plant.
Poppy seeds carry minor traces of opiates like morphine, codeine, and thebaine. These tiny, kidney-like seeds offer a nutty, delightful taste, serving as a popular spice and oil source. They come in varied hues, including white, gray, black, and blue, with blue being the most frequent choice in culinary applications.
Poppy seeds are typically dashed over bread, pastries, or salads, enhancing texture and taste. Traditional healers also value these seeds for their therapeutic attributes, such as soothing pain and promoting relaxation.
What is opium?
Opium is a highly addictive narcotic drug derived from the dried latex sap of the opium poppy plant.
Opium is produced by scoring the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy plant and collecting the milky latex sap that oozes out. The sap is then dried into a sticky brown substance. Opium can be consumed via smoking, eating, or processing to isolate mind-altering substances like codeine and morphine.
The opiates from the poppy plant interact with the central nervous system, yielding effects like pain alleviation, tranquility, and euphoria.
Opium’s historical footprint extends to recreational use and medicinal applications such as easing pain, suppressing coughs, and treating diarrhea.
Given its intense addictive potential and abuse risks, opium and its by-products are strictly supervised and regulated in numerous nations.
What affects the opiate content in poppy seeds?
The poppy seeds themselves contain no opium content. Instead, the sources usually get contaminated with opiate alkaloids from the seed pods.
The traces of opiates found in these seeds do not have the same potency or effects as prescription opioids or illegal drugs like heroin.
Unrinsed poppy seeds might possess higher concentrations of Schedule II opium alkaloids on their outer layer compared to their washed counterparts. Seed alkaloid levels hinge on the plant’s harvesting methods and geographical origin.
Various factors can influence the seed’s opiate concentration, such as:
- Species of the poppy plant
- Time of year when seeds were harvested
- Soil conditions in which plants were grown
- Types of processing methods are used to prepare seeds for consumption.
Poppy seeds harvested from mature pods contain more opiates than those harvested from immature pods.
Processed seeds (such as those used in baking) generally have lower opiate concentrations than unwashed poppy seeds.
How many poppy seeds would it take to test positive for opium?
By eating poppy seeds, you may or may not have positive drug test results for opiates. It depends on the type and quantity of seeds you eat to determine whether you test drug positive.
Eating three tablespoons (27 grams or equal to 3 poppy seed bagels) of unwashed poppy seeds with high opiate alkaloid contamination is enough to test positive for opiates within 24 hours. However, consuming an ounce of washed and processed poppy seeds may produce negative opiate test results. Thus, there isn’t an exact answer to how eating a lot of poppy seeds will make you positive for a drug test.
Evidence from studies
In recent years, a few British toxicologists who performed forensic urine drug tests found individuals who produced codeine-positive or morphine-negative results. Those three people denied consuming codeine administration but consumed specific poppy seed-containing food products like poppy seed cakes and muffins.
According to a study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, poppy seed consumption may be associated with codeine in urine test results. In this study, 11 participants consumed one of 10 unique poppy seed-containing food products. Six of the 33 non-baseline urine samples were positive for codeine and negative for morphine at the 300 ng/mL cutoff. In the study, poppy seed-containing food products produced identical test results to codeine administration.
According to a 1996 study report, concentrations in the range of 2–251 micrograms/g of morphine and 0.47–57.1 micrograms/g of codeine concentration can be present in poppy seeds. Australian, Hungarian, and Spanish poppy seeds have more opiates than other varieties.
Another study reported that “the concentration of morphine, codeine, and thebaine in poppy seeds is reduced after thermal and washing treatment.” However, steam application or baking (such as poppy seed muffins or lemon poppy seed) is not likely to significantly affect the opium alkaloids in poppy seeds.
The concentration of morphine and codeine following the ingestion of poppy seed products—evidence for the poppy seed defense during urine drug screen in the defense departments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get high by eating poppy seeds?
Poppy seeds sold in grocery stores typically contain less than the amount required to produce these effects. However, it is still possible to be positive on a drug test, even with small amounts.Usually, the number of poppy seeds available in supermarkets must be increased to induce noticeable effects. Yet, even minor amounts might yield a positive drug test result. While a few ingested seeds may not trigger noticeable impacts, a significant intake might lead to mild euphoria. Essentially, to experience a high, more significant consumption of poppy seeds is necessary. Experts suggest that individuals limit their intake to a tablespoon of raw poppy seeds per seven pounds of body weight.
Do poppy seeds contain a substance that is prohibited in sports?
Indeed, poppy seeds may carry minor traces of opiates like morphine and codeine, substances forbidden in athletics. Even though these opiate quantities are typically minimal, testing positive for them remains possible.
Can athletes eat poppy seeds without testing positive?
The opiate content in poppy seeds fluctuates based on their source, making it challenging to ascertain a safe consumption level without prompting a positive drug test. Generally, athletes undergoing drug screening should steer clear of poppy seeds.
Can the morphine from poppy seeds be detected in a sample?
Indeed, drug tests can identify the presence of morphine in poppy seeds. The sensitivity of athletes' drug tests is high, capable of detecting even minuscule quantities of prohibited substances such as morphine.
How long do opiates stay in your urine?
The detection period for opiates can significantly vary, influenced by individual parameters. On average, most opiates remain traceable in a standard urine drug test for around 3-4 days following the last consumption. In contrast, specific opiates like methadone could appear for 7-10 days. Conversely, sure others, such as fentanyl, might be discernible only for a few hours to a day. More refined drug testing methods, like those used for forensic or employment purposes, may extend the detection window for opiates.
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