Posted on

marijuana test poppy seed

Marijuana test poppy seed

Sesame seed bagels are better, anyway. 🙂

It’s well known in drug testing circles that poppy seeds can make a person test positive for opiates.

That’s because poppy seeds come from the poppy plant, which is also used to produce heroin, opium, and whatever it was that made Dorothy, Toto, and the Cowardly Lion fall asleep on their way to the Emerald City.

Delicious, but deadly.

The opium in poppy seeds on a bagel (or in salad dressing) isn’t enough to get you doped up, but it can be enough to give you a false positive on a drug test.

We’ve known this for at least 20 years, and I’ve generally advised employers to check with the drug testing lab or Medical Review Officer if a person tests positive for opiates and claims to have eaten poppy seeds before taking the test. If the lab or MRO confirms that poppy seeds could have caused the result, then I’ve advised giving the individual the benefit of the doubt.

The New York City Department of Correction isn’t as nice as I am. According to the New York Post, Officer Eleazer Paz tested positive for morphine and codeine, and had been cleared to return to work by an administrative law judge. The ALJ found that the positive result was probably caused by Officer Paz’s consumption of a poppy seed bagel. Officer Paz even had expert testimony from a toxicologist, who testified that the result “could only be explained by eating poppy seed bagels because the quantities of the drugs were . . . inconsistent with heroin or individual morphine and codeine ingestion.” (Ellipsis in NY Post article.)

See also  marijuana seeds to buy pure sativa

The ALJ recommended that Officer Paz be reinstated, but the DOC ordered this week that he be fired, crediting instead the testimony from a representative of the laboratory that conducted the test.

I’d have given Officer Paz the benefit of the doubt. But maybe the real moral of the story is to stay away from poppy seeds if you’re subject to random drug testing, or if you’re applying for a job. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency reportedly recommends that athletes refrain from eating poppy seeds for a few days before any athletic competition.

See? Sesame seed bagels really are best. In more ways than one.

Image Credit: From flickr, Creative Commons license, by Infrogmation of New Orleans.

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.

See also  massachusetts marijuana grow kit seeds

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.