August 21, 2011

The Verdict on Poppy Seeds is Questionable



     Over the past few years two mothers in New Castle, Pennsylvania, have had their children removed from them at birth because they tested positive to drugs.*

     During the same time period a seventeen year old boy in another community died from an overdose of morphine.**

     The common factor: poppy seed ingestion.

     The women had ingested poppy seeds (one had eaten a bagel, the other a salad, with poppy seeds added). The youth had ingested poppy seed tea.

     Are poppy seeds, a baking staple, that dangerous?

     The jury is out, according to my Internet research.

     Poppy seed tea contains different opiates, typically morphine and codeine, in various concentrations.**. Other poppy seeds include Dutch and Czech.****

     Research on Several kinds of poppy seeds (Australian, Hungarian, Spanish and one kind of Turkish seeds) by the Dutch Laboratory for Drugs and Doping, Hospital Pharmacy, which analyzed for the amount of opiates present, showed poor reproducibility. It concluded that poppy seeds ingested showed a large interindivudual variation in the excretion of opiates. These poppy seeds can give positive testing results.****

The morphine content in poppy seeds can vary enormously… depending on many factors: the exact type of seeds, the harvesting time, how well they are washed, and others.

Poppy seeds sold in bulk in supermarkets are not controlled for the amount of opiates in them, but rather for their flavor and appearance, as they are meant to be used for baking.

The inside of the seeds themselves does not contain opiates, but residual amounts are passed onto them from the pods during the collection process.

When you make an infusion from these seeds, there is no telling how much opiates your solution will contain. You are truly playing a potentially deadly game of Russian roulette.**

     In the case of the youth, lab tests revealed a high level of morphine and the presence of codeine in the tea, as well as high morphine levels in both blood and urine of the youththe presence of both together and the absence of characteristic heroin metabolites exclude the possibility of pharmaceutical morphine or heroin intoxication…The analysis of the tea supports its role as the source of the morphine and codeine detected in the blood. **

     There are many other reports of poppy tea use and abuse. The effects come on in about 15 to 20 minutes, and the effects last about 24 hours.***

     The practice of making poppy seed tea to get high likely arises from the notion that consuming poppy seeds can lead to a positive urine test for heroin.**** There are reasons why the abuse of poppy seeds in this manner has not yet become more widespread:

  • the stuff has a very bitter and foul taste, and so may not be popular for that reason
  • other opiates like prescription painkillers, and even heroin, are cheap these days

     It is important for young people to be warned of all of the potential dangers of such experimentation…This process is not to be taken lightly, because while the little poppy seed that is in the grocery is perfectly harmless when used in moderation, such as adorning a bagel or in a muffin, once you start to mess with Mother Nature and concentrate the seeds, you increase your exposure to all sorts of other chemicals…Pesticides, heavy metals as well as a host of other chemicals that are way below harmful levels when consumed as directed, are now being consumed in dangerously high concentrations.***

     Although the results about the dangers of drug overdose are not conclusive in research or anecdotally, there is reason to be cautious.

     Enjoy your poppy seed bagel and an occasional cup of poppy seed tea, but don’t overdo it—and, especially, don’t ingest poppy seed concoctions before a drug test.


*Can Poppy Seed Ingestion Affect Drug Tests? and

Newborns of Two New Castle (PA) Mothers Removed Due to Poppy Seed Ingestion








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Characteristics of and lures used by child molesters


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