How Many Poppy Seeds To Test Positive For Opiates?

Poppy seeds contain small amounts of opiates such as morphine, codeine, and thebaine.

Consumption of poppy seed-containing foods or beverages can sometimes cause a positive drug test for opiates, leading to false accusations of drug use. However, the amounts of opiates found in the seeds are typically insufficient to cause noticeable effects or be considered a health risk.

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 a flowering plant. Poppy seeds are small oilseeds obtained from the poppy plant.

The tiny, kidney-shaped seeds have a nutty and pleasant flavor and are commonly used as a spice and oil.

Poppy seeds come in different colors, including white, gray, black, and blue, with the latter being the most common type used in cooking.

They are often sprinkled on bread, pastries, or salads to add texture and flavor.

Traditional medicine also uses these seeds for their medicinal properties, including pain relief and 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. It can be smoked, eaten, or processed to extract psychoactive compounds like codeine and morphine.

The opiate substances from the poppy plant act on the central nervous system to produce pain relief, sedation, and euphoria.

Opium has a long history of use as a recreational drug and for medicinal purposes such as pain relief, cough suppression, and diarrhea treatment.

Due to its highly addictive nature and potential for abuse, opium, and its derivatives are highly regulated and controlled substances in many countries.

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.

Unwashed seeds may contain more Schedule II opium alkaloids in their seed coats than washed poppy seeds. The concentration of alkaloids in the seeds depends on the plant’s harvesting techniques and geographical provenance.

The opiate content in the seeds can be affected by a variety of factors, 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 3 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.

A few poppy seeds ingestion may not cause noticeable effects, but consuming a large amount could cause mild euphoria.

Practically speaking, you need to eat more poppy seeds to get high.

Experts advise consumers to consume no more than one tablespoon of raw poppy seeds for every seven pounds of body weight.

Do poppy seeds contain a substance that is prohibited in sports?

Yes, poppy seeds can contain trace amounts of opiates such as morphine and codeine, which are prohibited in sports. While the amount of opiates in poppy seeds is generally small, it is possible to have positive test results for these substances.

Can athletes eat poppy seeds without testing positive?

The number of opiates in poppy seeds varies according to the origin of the sources. So it isn’t easy to know exactly how much is safe to consume without triggering a positive drug test. Generally, athletes subject to drug testing should avoid poppy seeds.

Can the morphine from poppy seeds be detected in a sample?

Yes, morphine from poppy seeds can be detected in drug test samples. Generally, drug tests for athletes are very sensitive and can detect even trace amounts of banned substances like morphine.

How long do opiates stay in your urine?

The exact detection window can vary widely depending on individual factors. Most opiates can be detected in a standard urine drug test for up to 3–4 days after the last use. However, some opiates, such as methadone, can be detected for 7–10 days. Others, such as fentanyl, may only be detectable for a few hours to a day. Additionally, more sensitive drug tests, such as those used in forensic or workplace testing, may detect opiates longer.

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