What Are the Dangers of Poppy Seed Tea?

Dangers of poppy seed tea

Poppy Seed tea - the effects and the facts

So what are the dangers of poppy seed tea and why should you be weary about drinking it?

Papaver somniferum is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived. 

Poppy seeds contain a high concentration of morphine, and opium alkaloids. 

A tablespoon of poppy seeds contains enough morphine to kill a person who weighs less than 100 lbs.

So you would be right to ask – what are the dangers of Poppy Seed Tea?

Can it result in an opioid overdose?

Does the positive impact outweigh the attached risk?

Thanks to the internet and global shipping, the opium poppy plant is now common all over the world.

We have seen a case report of someone who became addicted by eating too many poppy seeds every day for months, leading him to overdose, so it’s not surprising that there are legal restrictions on seed pods in the U.S.

Poppy Seed Tea

Unwashed poppy seeds are used to create Poppy seed tea.

The use of poppy seeds in the United States is legal and commonly found on baked goods, such as bagels.

But Regular use of poppy tea can lead to a large number of dangers. In this article, we will discuss the dangers of poppy seed tea.

What’s In Poppy Seeds?

Poppy seeds contain opiate alkaloids, while other parts of this plant are referred to as poppy straw.

Codeine and morphine are found in unwashed Poppy seeds.

The National poison data system is set by the American Association of poison control centers and drug administration.

They have analyzed dangers related to the poppy plant, such as overdoses and deaths. 

There has been anecdotal evidence that Poppy Seed Tea has been used to treat chronic pain, and over time led to an addiction of the opioids within it.

Poppy seeds contain a higher likelihood of opiate contamination which is the major cause of disorders in the body. 

High dose effects of Poppy seeds can have devastating effects and in some cases, a patient taken ill can be stabilized with the help of sublingual buprenorphine. 

Let’s take a look at few of the dangers of Poppy Seed Tea;

Use of Acids With Poppy Seed Tea

Don’t ever try to use poppy seed tea with acidic content such as lemon juice

When mixed with citrus juice it becomes more dangerous as it creates the extraction of opiates. 

Poppy seeds are actually tiny little capsules filled with a myriad of chemicals. 

These chemicals aren’t really that great for us, but they can be found in foods like poppy seed bagels and pastries.

Can Poppy Seed Tea Cause Allergies?

For some people, consuming poppy seeds can cause an allergic reaction in their body. 

It’s important to know that poppy seeds are sold in many different ways, including whole, ground, and baked into goods. 

Most people ingest small amounts of poppy seeds every year, which has no harmful effect on the body.

If allergic to poppy seeds, the most common allergy symptoms are; 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea

Those who have difficulty breathing, have an itchy skin rash or experience chest pain should seek medical attention immediately.

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from any addiction is hard and the addictive properties for anyone addicted to opioids are no different.

There has been anecdotal evidence that Poppy Seed Tea has been used to treat chronic pain, and over time led to an addiction of the opioids within it.

In some of these instances, doctors attempts to stop patients taking this substance has led to severe withdrawal symptoms, causing him to return to its use.

Opiate Consumption In Poppy Seed Tea

Drinking poppy seed tea is not recommended. 

The outside part of the seed contains opiates that can seep into a beverage made from them, particularly when mixed with hot water.

So, it’s best to avoid the sole use of poppy seed tea.

The chances of this occurring are slim, but even so it’s considered dangerous for anyone to drink poppy seed tea.

Respiratory Depression

Taking a high dose of poppy seeds may have adverse effects on your health. 

A lot of significant difficulties have been seen in people who drink Poppy Seed Tea, like respiratory depression. 

This is difficulty breathing or slow breathing – which has been reported by users of this particular drug and some even require extensive medical attention as a result. 

Pharmaceutical Opioids

Some of the most widely abused pharmaceutical medications are opioids. 

Opioids are drugs that are prescribed by doctors in order to help patients with pain relief.

Your body eventually builds a  tolerance to opioids and needs a higher dose to get the same effects as compared to the first time. 

Long term effects include overdose and possible death, in extreme cases even after just one use.

According to Hhs.com

‘In 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year. Specifically, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers and 745,000 people used heroin’.

Dangers of Dependence

The United States Food Administration and US drug enforcement administration have conducted drug testing on people consuming vast amounts of Poppy Seeds and the risks are as follows;

  • Liver – Stress can lead to liver disorders including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis
  • Brain – Overstress causes mental health disorders like depression
  • Chronic stress causes mood swings and aggravation
  • Increase in blood pressure which can lead to a stroke or heart attack
  • Lungs – Increases the risk of lung infections, like pneumonia and pulmonary tuberculosis

Opioid Abuse From Tea

Opioids are a class of painkiller that includes narcotics, prescribed to patients by their doctors. 

This is used for treating pain, but their misuse may lead to dependency or addiction which is categorized as an “opioid use disorder.”

In the majority of cases, researchers have seen that taking a large amount of poppy seeds has adverse effects on health. 

Scientific warnings about Poppy Seed Tea

Assistant professor of forensic toxicology at Sam Houston State University, Madeleine Swortwood explains to Inverse just how lethal Poppy Seed Tea can be;

‘Recently, medical examiners reported two cases of a 21-year-old male and 24-year-old male with high amounts of morphine in their blood at autopsy. It was suspected that the decedent’s ingested lethal amounts of morphine from home-brewed poppy seed tea’.

Further action is needed to stop its use. For example, A man named Steve Hacala used Amazon to buy poppy seeds. 

He ate the poppy seeds without realizing that they contained much higher levels of morphine than he realized, resulting in his death.

Turning point addiction clinic Dr Shalini Arunogiri and deputy clinical director of turning point said that Opioid use has become a major public health problem in Australia.

Danger of Poppy Seed Tea - The Bottom Line

While the dangers of poppy seed tea are often disputed and still being researched, the risk of opioid use disorder, or even worse, simply isn’t worth the risk.

If you suffer from chronic pain, consult your health care provider for safer alternatives to Poppy Seed Tea.

Poppy seed samples from the internet or drug stores will contain varying levels of opiates due to how they are farmed and packaged, which is very difficult to regulate or monitor.

Case studies that have involved young males in their late teens have resulted in adverse events due to the consumption of poppy seeds, so our advice –  Why risk it?

Especially given that users of Poppy Seed Tea even report it as having a bitter taste, it simply isn’t worth it.