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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:

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

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.

USADA cannot predict the amount of poppy seeds you can eat and remain below the testing threshold set by WADA. **In most cases, consumption of poppy seeds in foods will not cause a positive doping test.

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.

The opium is composed of roughly 12 percent morphine, which is a narcotic that is prohibited in-competition. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List, morphine is a threshold substance, meaning that WADA-accredited laboratories determine if a sample is positive for morphine when the level of morphine in the urine is greater than *1.3 micrograms/mL.

Tapering off the drugs slowly can help avoid some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Your best bet is to consult with your physician about how to wean yourself or a loved one from poppy seed tea.

Research has shown it is possible to create a lethal dose of morphine in poppy seed tea brewed at home. Because it is almost impossible to tell what the concentration of the active drugs might be in any one crop of poppy pods or poppy seeds, it is impossible to control the amount of the drug enough to avoid overdose.

Poppy seeds used in food preparation are washed, which removes up to 90% of the opioids. The seeds, stems, and pods sold to make poppy seed tea are unwashed. Poppy seeds are not created equal, and everyone processes them differently. Poppy seeds can vary in their concentrations of codeine and morphine, meaning that the strength of the tea made by one crop of seed can be quite different from another.

Addiction and Withdrawal

Although the DEA classified “poppy straw,” or all parts of the poppy plant other than the seeds, as a Schedule II controlled substance, and the importation of contaminated poppy seeds is illegal, it’s still possible to purchased unwashed poppy seeds online.

Unwashed poppy pods, straw (the pods and stems), and/or seeds are used to create poppy seed tea, which gives an opioid high. The dried pods or straw are ground into a powder and steeped in water. This is a popular way to extract opioids from the poppy.

Opioids suppress the respiratory system, which can lead to death by respiratory arrest after an overdose of the drug. If someone you care about experiences the following symptoms of opioid overdose, call 911 immediately and stay with the person. Paramedics carry a medication called Narcan (naloxone) that can counter the effects of an opiate overdose.

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If you’re someone who’s struggling with substance use disorder or have a loved one who is, reach out to the team at The Recovery Village. Whether you’re ready for treatment or you just want to learn more, we are happy to provide you with answers, information, and support.

According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, research shows morphine and codeine can be detected in urine for up to 48 hours after eating poppy seeds. The organization does point out that most of the opium is removed from poppy seeds when they’re processed, but there is still residual opium on the outside of the seeds. The USADA also doesn’t offer guidelines as to how much poppy seeds someone can eat and remain below the opiate drug testing threshold. The recommendation is that athletes who will undergo testing avoid poppy seeds in the days leading up to and during competitions, to be safe.

People frequently wonder about the relationship between poppy seeds and opiates. Are poppy seeds opiates? Could eating poppy seeds show up on a drug test since they come from the same plant as this class of drugs?

Poppy Seeds and Opiates

A drug test will be able to determine that a person isn’t using heroin if they take a drug test after eating poppy seeds. However, the results won’t discern whether or not that person has used other opiates. As a result of false positives stemming from poppy seeds, the federal government raised the opiate threshold for employee drug tests. It was raised from 0.3 micrograms to 2 micrograms per milliliter. This adjustment reduces the chances of poppy seeds showing up on an opiate drug test.

The natural opiate alkaloids used as pain relievers include codeine and morphine. Synthetic opioid derivatives include heroin, fentanyl, methadone, and hydromorphone. Regardless of whether someone is actively using natural opiates or synthetic opioids, the risks are similar. Negative effects of administering these substances include psychological addiction, physical dependence, and fatal respiratory depression.

While poppy seeds aren’t going to get you high, there are concerns with drug testing because there is so much variance in the amount of morphine on the coating of a poppy seed. These distinctions can depend on factors like where the seeds come from and how they were washed. To be on the safe side, if you are going to be undergoing a drug test, be aware of your intake of poppy seeds.

Opiates are a class of drugs derived from the poppy plant. Opiates are all-natural. Opioids are synthetic or semisynthetic drugs that have been man-made to replicate the structure of opiates. Opiates and opioids act on the brain in similar ways by binding to specific receptors that change how the person actively using the substance perceives pain. These drugs also affect areas of the brain responsible for controlling emotion. In this way, they create a euphoric high. That high can trigger the brain’s reward system, which is what leads to the psychological disease of addiction.