Lachenmeier DW, Sproll C, Musshoff F. Poppy seed foods and opiate drug testing—where are we today? Ther Drug Monitor. 2010 Feb; 32(1): 11-18.
While poppy seeds don’t actually contain morphine, the seeds can become coated by, or absorb, opium extract during harvesting. Opium is the milky substance that is extracted along with the poppy seeds from the seed pod of the opium poppy after all the petals have fallen off.
Can the morphine from poppy seeds be detected in a sample?
Even though most of the opium is removed from the poppy seeds during processing (usually more than 90%), in some cases, the seeds sold for use in foods still have a significant amount of opium – and thus morphine – on them. The amount of morphine residue left on the seeds depends on how well the poppy seeds are cleaned and processed, which varies depending on the country the seeds are from and how and when they were harvested.
However, it may be possible to exceed the morphine threshold by eating foods with poppy seeds and USADA can’t predict how long morphine or morphine metabolites from poppy seeds will stay in your system. The most conservative approach would be to avoid poppy seeds a few days before and during competitions.
Thevis M, Opfermann G, Schänzer W. Urinary Concentrations of Morphine and Codeine After Consumption of Poppy Seeds. J Anal Toxicol (January-February 2003) 27(1): 53-56 . URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=morphine%20and%20codeine%20on%20poppy%20seeds%20thevis
Research shows that morphine and codeine can sometimes be detected in the urine up to 48 hours after ingestion of poppy seeds from some pastries, such as bagels, muffins, and cakes (see reference one for a free article on this topic).
And in case you’re wondering what other kinds of foods could lead you to fail a substance test, we’ve got the answer for you: the best kinds.
The construction worker added, “I knew straight away that it had to be the poppy seeds I had eaten and I actually thought 'Great that explains it.'”
“It is unlikely that a single poppy seed roll, or even a dozen rolls, would result in an individual ingesting enough morphine to have a pharmacological effect.”
And if you’re unlucky enough to be breathalysed immediately after eating pizza, then this could cause you to fail the test.
“If you eat a poppy seed roll, it could give rise to a positive result on a urine drug test for morphine,” says Atholl Johnston, Professor of Pharmacology at Queen Mary University.
This is the claim of a 58-year-old pipe fitter, suspended from work for 11 weeks after testing positive for morphine – an extract from the opium produced by poppies.
“I thought to myself ‘I have something in my body that I have no idea where it has come from’ – it was very worrying.”
Massachusetts Medical Society: “Urine Abstinence Testing And Incidental Alcohol Exposure.”
This beverage is a popular folk remedy in Peru and elsewhere in South America. It’s made with the leaves of the same plant that cocaine comes from. If you drink it, you may want to stop a couple of days before your drug test. Coca tea could affect your screening for up to 36 hours after you’ve sipped it.
FDA: “Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) Label.”
National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Misuse of Prescription Drugs,” “Benzodiazepines and Opioids.”
American Addiction Centers: “What’s An Amphetamine? Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment.”
These small black seeds naturally contain morphine and codeine. A poppy seed bagel, for example, might make you test positive for both of those opioids for up to a whole day after you eat it. That’s more likely to happen with labs that still follow the older, lower thresholds for detecting those substances.
Cannabidiol (CBD) comes from the hemp plant, a relative of the Cannabis sativa plant that produces marijuana. CBD, which doesn’t make you high, is used for medical marijuana to ease pain and other symptoms. Some states allow CBD oil, edibles, and other products to have up to 5% of the mind-altering chemical THC. Depending on when and how much you’ve taken CBD, it’s possible for your urine to show evidence of marijuana in your body.