Including previously reported cases, there are now at least 19 U.S. deaths associated with poppy seeds in the literature. Can poppy seeds cause a positive anti-doping drug test? How does eating poppy seeds cause a failed drug test. Can you test positive after eating poppy seeds? Getting ready to take a drug test for a job or for other reasons? Watch out for these common things that could lead to a false positive result.
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.
- 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
Other Emerging Trends
CDC Health Advisory: Increases in Availability of Cannabis Products Containing Delta-8 THC and Reported Cases of Adverse Events
September 20, 2021 | CDC Alert on the Increased availability of cannabis products containing delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the potential for adverse events
COVID-19 is an Emerging, Rapidly Evolving Situation
CDC and FDA Issue Updates on Vaping-Related Health Issues
September 12, 2019 | The CDC and FDA have posted important information for consumers related to recent deaths and illnesses that could be linked to vaping.
U.S. Surgeon General Warning on Marijuana Use in Adolescence and During Pregnancy
August 30, 2019 | The U.S. Surgeon General has issued a warning about the potential health risks of marijuana use in adolescence and during pregnancy.
FDA Special Announcement: Reports of Seizures After Using Nicotine Vaping Devices
April 4, 2019 | The FDA has become aware that some people who use e-cigarettes have experienced seizures, with most reports involving youth or young adult users.
Poppy Seed Marijuana
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.
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.
Can the morphine from poppy seeds be detected in a sample?
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).
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.
Can athletes eat poppy seeds without testing positive?
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.
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
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.
Moeller MR, Hammer K, Engel O. Poppy seed consumption and toxicological analysis of blood and urine samples. Forensic Sci Int. 2004 Jun 16; 143(2-3): 183-186.
What Can Cause a False Positive Drug Test
If you hang out often with someone who puffs on pot, your urine could have traces of THC. That’s the chemical in the cannabis plant that gets you high. But chances are very low that you’ll have enough THC to trigger the positive result in the screens used by the federal government and many private employers. That’s most likely to happen right after you’re exposed to the smoke. A second test would need to confirm it.
Weight Loss Pills
Phentermine is a prescription medicine that helps curb your appetite. It’s chemically similar to amphetamines, a stimulant used to treat ADHD and as a study aid to stay awake. Phentermine could raise a false red flag in your drug screen if you don’t have a medical reason for taking amphetamines.
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.
Many liquid medications, vanilla extract, and breath-cleaning products often have ethanol, a form of simple grain alcohol. Today’s drug tests can detect even trace amounts of alcohol, and for longer after exposure. So if you use anything with ethyl alcohol, your breath, blood, or urine sample might get flagged for possible signs of drinking. The same thing could happen even with alcohol-based hand sanitizers if you use them regularly.
Sertraline (Zoloft) is prescribed for depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more. Some drug screens may not be specific enough to tell apart sertraline and benzodiazepines. The latter is an older tranquilizer drug that’s often found in people who overdose on opioids. The faulty test result could happen for several days after you quit your antidepressant.
These medications usually won’t interfere with your drug screens. But in rare cases, a few antibiotics are known to trigger inaccurate test results. Rifampin, which treats tuberculosis, might show up as opiates in some rapid urine screens. What’s more, the false positive result may be possible even more than 18 hours after you’ve swallowed a single dose of the antibiotic.
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.
Some popular over-the-counter allergy and sleep meds like Benadryl and Advil PM have diphenhydramine. It can relieve coughs and runny noses. But on drug screens, it can show up as methadone, which helps people quit heroin or other opiates and can be addictive. Diphenhydramine also may show up as PCP, an illegal hallucinogenic that is one of five types of drugs that applicants for all federal and many private-sector jobs are screened for.
Efavirenz (Sustiva) is an antiretroviral drug that helps treat your HIV infection. But on a drug screen, it can make you seem to have used marijuana. A second, more sensitive test should be able to distinguish which of the two compounds is in your body. To avoid confusion, you may want to alert the lab or the clinic beforehand that you’re on efavirenz.
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.
Several of these medications for mental disorders can lead to false positive tests. Quetiapine, which treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can wrongly show that you have methadone in your urine. Another antipsychotic — chlorpromazine — can cause drug tests to come up positive for amphetamine, a stimulant.
IMAGES PROVIDED BY:
American Addiction Centers: “What’s An Amphetamine? Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment.”
American Association for Clinical Chemistry: “Rifampin Interference with Opiate Immunoassays.”
Drug Enforcement Administration: “Dextromethorphan.”
FDA: “Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) Label.”
Journal of Analytical Toxicology: “Non-Smoker Exposure to Secondhand Cannabis Smoke. I. Urine Screening and Confirmation Results.”
Massachusetts Medical Society: “Urine Abstinence Testing And Incidental Alcohol Exposure.”
Mayo Clinic: “Urine Drug Screening: Practical Guide for Clinicians.”
National Center for Biotechnology Information: “Investigation of interference by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in urine tests for abused drugs,” “False positive urine drug screens from quinine in tonic water,” “Cardiac Complications of Unwitting Co-injection of Quinine/Quinidine with Heroin in an Intravenous Drug User,” “The dextromethorphan defense: dextromethorphan and the opioid screen,” “A positive cannabinoids workplace drug test following the ingestion of commercially available hemp seed oil,” “Efavirenz use may cause false positive result for marijuana,” “Urine opiate screening: false-positive result with levofloxacin,” “An Overview of Clinical Pharmacology of Ibuprofen.”
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens: “What is Hemp?”
National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Misuse of Prescription Drugs,” “Benzodiazepines and Opioids.”
Operation Supplement Safety: “Weight-Loss Prescription Drugs: Phentermine.”
Pharmacokinetics in Psychiatry and Neurology: “Urine drug screens: Considerations for the psychiatric pharmacist.”
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: “Clinical Drug Testing in Primary Care,” “Methadone.”
The Brookings Institution: “The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer.”
U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Drug Testing,” “Quinine,” “Diphenhydramine,” “Dextromethorphan,” “Efavirenz,” “Amphetamine,” “Sertraline.”
University of Florida: “Germ-killing sanitizers could have effect on alcohol tests.”
American Alliance Drug Testing: “SAMSHA Guidelines — Mandatory Federal Workplace Drug Testing Guidelines.”