Poppy Seed Marijuana

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Poppy Seeds and Drug Tests The urban legend that eating poppy seeds can lead to a failed drug test is, in fact, not a legend. Eating poppy seeds – even as few as are typically contained in a For centuries there has been cultivation of cannabis, coca, and the opium poppy. From the opium poppy has come morphine drips in hospitals, from the coca plant has come cocaine which is used in certain medical surgeries, and from the cannabis plant has come various hemp products. While these plants have provided useful products, they are also among nature’s most addicting and potentially deadly vegetation. This exhibit provides an overview of these “Big Three” addictive plants. Including previously reported cases, there are now at least 19 U.S. deaths associated with poppy seeds in the literature.

Poppy Seeds and Drug Tests

The urban legend that eating poppy seeds can lead to a failed drug test is, in fact, not a legend. Eating poppy seeds – even as few as are typically contained in a large Costco poppy seed muffin – can yield positive test results for both morphine and codeine when testing standards are not adjusted to weed out such “false” positives.

Poppy seeds, morphine, and codeine all naturally occur in the opium poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. Accordingly, poppy seeds like those used in muffins, bagels, breads, and pastries, contain the opiates codeine and morphine. The opiate content of poppy seeds varies greatly based on the seed origin, when the seeds are harvested, and how the seeds are processed from harvest to consumer. Opiate concentration is also affected by how seeds are ultimately consumed: raw, ground into a paste, sprinkled atop a bagel, baked whole into a cake or muffin, etc.

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Multiple published, peer-reviewed, scientific studies have shown that ingestion of poppy seeds can result in urinary concentrations of morphine and codeine detectable in standard drug tests used by certain workplaces. Though many workplace drug tests have adjusted their laboratory standards to avoid “false” positive results caused by ordinary poppy seed consumption, it is still possible to test positive for illicit opioid drugs when lower cutoffs are used.

In 1998, the Federal Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revised their mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug testing programs due to concerns that many positive opiate tests were the result of poppy seed consumption. While the previous urine sample testing cutoff levels for both morphine and codeine previously were 300 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter), the Department of Health and Human Services increased the cutoff levels for both opiates to 2,000 ng/mL, effective May 1, 1998.

If you know you will be required to provide a urine or other biological sample for drug testing, it is prudent avoid consuming poppy seeds for at least one day prior to giving the sample.

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Cannabis, Coca, and Poppy: Nature’s Addictive Plants

For centuries there has been cultivation of cannabis, coca, and the opium poppy. From the opium poppy has come morphine drips in hospitals, from the coca plant has come cocaine which is used in certain medical surgeries, and from the cannabis plant has come various hemp products. While these plants have provided useful products, they are also among nature’s most addicting and potentially deadly vegetation. This exhibit provides an overview of these “Big Three” addictive plants.

Nature is rich in diversity. There are many different botanicals that have many different uses. Mankind has long sought to harness plants for a variety of purposes. Scientists have conducted research to discover new medicines and cures from plants across the globe.

There is a constant search for medicines that will improve the quality of life, manage or alleviate pain, and cure diseases. Botanicals are one source for those medicines. They can also be sources for other products and chemicals. Some plants have many serious side effects. With cannabis, coca, and the opium poppy, the challenge is a balance between using the products from the plant for their intended use in a safe manner while avoiding the illegal use and misuse that has had so many detrimental effects on society over the centuries.

Opioid exposure associated with poppy consumption reported to poison control centers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Including previously reported cases, there are now at least 19 U.S. deaths associated with poppy seeds in the literature. Authors recommend that practitioners working in opioid treatment and recovery be alert to use of poppy to treat pain and symptoms of withdrawal.

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Study:

  • Eva Greenthal , Peter Lurie & Suzanne Doyon (2021): Opioid exposure associated with poppy consumption reported to poison control centers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Clinical Toxicology, DOI: 10.1080/15563650.2020.1866766

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