A picture of an opium poppy field (probably in Afghanistan). Poppy seeds are inside the pods.

Simon’s Opium Poppy Seeds and Pods Guide

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Poppy seeds and opium are both derived from the opium poppy plant (Papaver somniferum). All parts of the plant exude white latex when wounded – opium is that latex. It contains alkaloids, such as thebaine, codeine, papaverine, noscapine and morphine.

Papaver somniferum is an annual herb that sometimes grows as high as 100 cm. Its stems and  leaves are sparsely covered with coarse hairs. The flowers are up to 120mm diameter, normally with four white, or reddish petals. Sometimes you can also see dark markings at the base. The fruit of the plant is a hairless, rounded capsule topped with 12–18 radiating stigmatic rays – this is the part of the plant, that is usually dried and used for ornamental purposes.

The three alkaloids in opium that are used the most extensively to create medicinal products and illicit drugs are codeine, thebaine and morphine. Heroin, arguably one of the most vicious drugs out there is synthesised from morphine.

The overwhelming majority of the alkaloid content of the opium poppy is accumulated in the latex obtained from the plant. However, the pods and seeds also contain some residual thebaine, codeine and morphine. Seeds are available in every country, although their alkaloid content is inferior, compared to that of pods.

Nevertheless, because it’s readily available in grocery stores around the world, many use the poppy seed tea as a recreational legal high. The tea has to be prepared from relatively large amounts of seeds, as their morphine and codeine content is very low.

Caution: the alkaloid content of the seeds is low indeed, but it also varies greatly. This makes drinking poppy seed tea a risky business,  as one batch can be substantially stronger than the other. Several cases were reported, when poppy seed tea caused a fatal morphine overdose.

Make sure you start small if you want to experiment with poppy seeds or pods!



Interesting facts about poppy seeds:

Poppy seeds do not contain enough alkaloids to produce psychoactive effects when eaten in amounts used for culinary purposes. However, the crew of Myth Busters, the popular science programme on Discovery channel had proven, that eating as few as two poppy seed bagels can result in a false positive drug test.

Until 1998, the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) marked urine samples with over 300 ng / ml opiate content as positive in its Federal Workplace Drug Testing Program. However, this method seemed to produce an enormous number of false positives, as it was proven, that eating a poppy seed bagel can produce an opiate level of approximately 250 ng/ml three hours later. Moreover, ingesting three teaspoons of poppy seeds can result in a level of 1,200 ng/ml six hours later.

Currently, the cut-off level for a positive urine test for opiates is set to 2000 ng / ml in the NIDA guidelines. US Military drug tests are marked positive above 3000 ng / ml, to avoid false positives completely.

The Myth Busters test would probably not work in the US anymore, but in other countries, the threshold might be set lower! 

Source: True or False: Eating Poppy Seed Pastries Can Lead To a Positive Drug Test for Heroin 



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Opium poppy seeds and pods guide




Opium poppy – legal status


The poppy seeds are legal and availabel in grocery stores in almost every country (with the exception of the United Arab Emirates, apparently, see below).

The legal status of opium poppy is controversial in many countries. Many authorities allow growing poppies for ornamental purposes, but punishments are imposed when the plants are grown for the purpose of extracting narcotics from them. However, such a law is extremely hard to enforce consistently.

Other countries only allow growing opium poppies under a special licence.

Countries with available information on the legal status of opium poppy sre:


Country legal status of opium poppy
USOpium is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Most opioids are Schedule II, III, IV, or V drugs. Growing opium poppies is not prohibited expressly, but one would surely get prosecuted if the DEA found out, that he’s growing the plant to extract opiates from it.
CanadaAll substances derived from, and all parts of the Papaver somniferum are Schedule I drugs.
UKIn the UK, poppies are legal to grow, but it is illegal to use them for medicinal purposes without a licence – that is, extracting morphine, thebaine, codeine and other opiates from them.
AustraliaIt is only legal to grow in Tasmania and Victoria, in possession of a licence. The former is one of the largest legal opium growing regions in the world.
New ZealandLegal to cultivate for ornamental purposes, but illegal to extract the psychoactive alkaloids
NetherlandsAll parts of Papaver somniferum are illegal after harvesting (except for the seeds), as they contain substances that are List I drugs under the Opium Law. However, unofficial sources claim, that the small scale cultivation of opium poppy plants for ornamental purposes is not actively prosecuted.
FinlandIt is prohibited to cultivate opium poppy.
United Arab Emirates Illegal to grow or cultivate. Even poppy seeds are illegal. Last year, a 16 year old Indian boy was detained, for “smuggling” half a kilo of poppy seeds into the country.

Although, growing opium poppies is namely illegal in Afghanistan, the country is by far the largest source of illegal opium, globally.
In 2007, the proportion of Afghanistan in the global opium production was reported to have been 93%.

Small-scale illicit opium production is limited to countries in North Africa, notably Egypt, which regularly reports the largest eradication of opium poppy among all countries in Africa. (I was in fact in Egypt, in a small town Dahab near the red sea last year and the local bedouin people there were selling their home-grown opium to tourists on the streets – seemingly unharassed).




Buy poppy seeds and pods


Opium poppy seeds are available worldwide in nearly all grocery stores. However, pods are problematic. Commercially available poppy pods are downright impossible to come by (few art and craft supply store have dried opium poppy pods available from time to time and ebay, craigslist, but that’s it).

The residual morphine and codeine content of the seeds is dependent on many factors, like how they’re produced, are they washed etc. For this reason, regular seeds you buy at the shops don’t always work.

You can find two legal high shops below, where you can get seeds, which you can grow at home for ornamental purposes.

Buy poppy seeds and pods US


A picture of Papaver somniferum, or opium poppy. You can buy poppy seeds from the US here!
Buy Papaver somniferum – opium poppy seeds from the US!

Buy poppy seeds from the US on the link below:

Buy opium poppy seeds /shipped from the US, credit cards accepted/




Buy poppy seeds and pods – Europe, Netherlands


A picture of poppy seeds - you can order them from the Netherlands here.
Buy poppy seeds – shipped from the Netherlands

Buy poppy seeds on this link:

Buy opium poppy seeds /shipped from the Netherlands/




Main active ingredients in opium poppy


The predominant active ingredient in the opium poppy plant is morphine. However, many other alkaloids are present in certain parts of the plant – mainly in opium, the latex obtained by “wounding” the pods.

The structure of morphine - the predominant alkaloid found in poppy seeds and other part of the opium poppy plant.
Morphine – the predominant alkaloid in the opium poppy plant

Apart from morphine, opium poppy plants also contain considerable amount of codeine and thebaine. Seeds contain varying amounts of the above substances, so consumed in relatively large amounts, they can trigger psychoactive effects.

Opium poppy seeds contain only trace amounts of morphine, and it is said that the effects of opium poppy seed tea mostly come from codeine. However, I could not unearth any scientific study supporting or refuting this.

The molecular structure of thebaine - an active ingredient in opium poppy seeds and pods.
Thebaine – an active ingredient in opium and opium poppy pods and seeds.

The molecular structure of codeine - an active ingredient found in poppy seeds and pods - and of course, in opium itself.
Codeine – an active ingredient found in poppy seeds and pods


The effects of opium poppy


The opium poppy is the source plant of all natural opiates. Many of these substances are extensively used in medicine, mainly as painkillers and sedatives. The effects of opium, poppy seed tea and poppy pod tea are similar, as they are induced by the same chemicals.

Opiates are described as “euphoric depressants” on Erowid. While this is probably not a classical clinical definition, it describes the effects of these substances quite well.

While opiates bear some traits of classic depressants, that is, they lowers neurotransmission levels in the brain (this explains the feeling of relaxation), they also induce an euphoric state.

The desirable effects of opiates are generally the following: 

  • Decreased sensation of pain
  • Decreased sensation of anxiety
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Strong euphoria
  • Sedation, at higher doses

Undesirable effect usually include stomach pains, nausea and vomiting.


Dangers of opium poppy and poppy seeds


Opiates are very dangerous if misused, and therefore should always be handled with caution.

Opiates are amongst the most addictive substances out there. Tolerance develops rapidly, and you will need more and more to achieve the same high, which leads to addiction very rapidly.

It is also reported, that many patients on prescription drugs with opiate content for a long period, will become more sensitive to pain in general, after discontinuation.

Excessive opiate use also has ill effects on the heart and lungs, because they cause sedation and lessen the brain’s ability to control breathing. This can slow your breathing and over time, damage your heart and lungs, as they’re not getting enough oxygen.

On top of the dangers of excessive use, opiates can be deadly, if overdosed. Of course, everyone heard about fatal heroin overdoses. However, drinking poppy seed tea resulted in deadly morphine overdoses in some reported cases too. One of the most recent examples was the death of Paul Dalling, a 27 year old English DJ. Dalling died of morphine and codeine overdose after drinking a pint of poppy seed tea prepared according to a recipe found online.

In Tasmania, Australia, the region that produces 90% of the worlds thebaine, there were 3 deaths between 2011 and 2014 caused by drinking poppy tea. Although, these concoctions were probably made from pods, which are a lot stronger and also harder to come by.

In short, be extremely cautious, even with opium poppy seeds, and if you want to experiment, always use the ladder method!



Opium poppy health benefits


Opiates are extensively used in medicine, as painkillers and sedativesthey are in fact the basis of almost every analgesic medication.

They induce an unnaturally strong state of relaxation, which is said to be beneficial for people who are suffering from a variety of stressful psychological and mental illness. However, due to their high addiction potential opium poppy derivatives are not used in mainstream psychiatry anymore.

Poppy seeds are also reported to have a high nutritional value. They are reportedly good sources of dietary fibre, thiamin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, calcium and manganese and are full of healthy fats.

Source: Nutrition Data – Spices, poppy seed

Due to the high levels of bioactive calcium, consumption of poppy seeds helps to prevent or alleviate osteoporosis in middle aged women according to the following scientific study.

Source: International Osteoporosis Foundation – Recommendations on the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Reducing the incidence of fractures through effective prevention and treatment


Poppy seed tea – consumption, preparation


Poppy seed tea is one of the most readily available and easy-to-make legal highs out there. However, it can also be one of the most dangerous!

Drinking poppy seeds tea can be a very pleasant experience, but can also kill you, or cause nasty nausea if not done the right way. Check out my suggestions in the “Dosage and precautions” section below, on how to prepare the tea safely.

According to a study, poppy seeds from different origins contain a wide variation of morphine (2–251 µg/g) and codeine (0.4–57.1 µg/g) content. These are huge differences, that make drinking poppy tea a risky business. If you want to experiment with poppy tea, you can do the following, to minimise the dangers:

  • Pick a certain brand of poppy seeds.
  • Check the production date and origin on the package.
  • Use only seeds produced at the same time and same place for the ladder method. This way, you minimise the risks caused by the greatly varying alkaloid content.

The parents of a 17 year old boy, who died from a morphine overdose cause by drinking poppy tea created an educational website to warn people about the risks associated with these poppy concoctions. On the site, the parents state that their son always used 3.5 lbs (1.59 kg) for his teas – also for the batch that was proven to be deadly.

Now that’s a lot, you should start with doses substantially smaller (around 300 g should be ok, and you can expect substantial effects at 500 mg). 

Source: Poppy Seeds: Differences in Morphine and Codeine Content and Variation in Inter- and Intra-Individual Excretion

The preparation method is fairly straightforward:

  • Boil some water
  • Turn of the heat and add poppy seeds
  • Let it sit for around 30 mins (mixing it occasionally)
  • Use a strainer or a towel to pour the liquid into your cup, to prevent seeds from getting into your drink

If you done it right, you should feel an extreme sense of relaxation and euphoria – the usual opiate high. See the “trip report” section below for more elaborate descriptions of the high cause by poppy seed tea.


Buy poppy seeds for growing – US


Buy poppy seeds for growing in US on the link below:

Buy opium poppy seeds /shipped from the US, credit cards accepted/

Buy poppy seeds for growing – Europe, Netherlands

Buy poppy seeds for growing on this link:

Buy opium poppy seeds /shipped from the Netherlands/


Poppy seed tea and poppy pod tea trip reports


Some claim, that the poppy seed tea doesn’t work at all. However, the truth is that it works.The experience below is from poppy seed tea drinker.

“During the thirty minute soak, I began to feel a release from my worries and a loosening of the joints in my body. Wow I thought, this hot tub is working wonders for me today. It was not until I got half way out of the water to cool off for a minute, and the night air hit me, that I knew I was under the influence of a divine plant. The wind felt like little electric sparks against my wet skin as my altered senses tried to comprehend the transition between the hot water and cold air. When I got out of the water, my legs felt heavy and my gait was a bit unrefined. I could feel the lovely flower essence pulsing in me. There was definitely a very pronounced body high. As I made my way into the house, I stopped by our good old friend the mirror to take a little look see. My pupils were quite small. I felt as if I had taken 15-20 mg of hydrocodone. The feelings of pleasure and relaxation continued to increase for another half-hour, finally reaching a high point about two hours after ingesting the tea. Effects could be felt through the entire evening and for about half of the next day.”

(This person used 300 g of poppy seeds for a tea)

Source: Erowid Experience Vault – Seeds Do Work


Here’s one about a poppy pod tea experience:

“I went up to the computer to check out how long its supposed to take, decided we probably had to wait 45 minutes, and let it kick in.

It did. Hard. I felt warm waves all over me, coupled with some unpleasant nausea and a strange gas that had me belching every few minutes. Every muscle in my body felt relaxed. My friend, R, who was experienced in many, many drugs, fell in love with the stuff. He was quite chatty and full of energy. The other, M, complained of feeling nothing except sick and hot. Within two hours of drinking the tea, however, it hit us all like a ton of bricks. M became near-catatonic, then quietly blissfull, a big relaxed smile on his face. R, with his rather larger tolerance for drugs, was asking me to make more tea. I wanted to lay down on the soft couch. No, I wanted to go outside and lay back and relax and watch the full moon. No, I wanted to talk about anything and everything under the sun. I wanted to prolong the glow.”

Source: Erowid Experience Vault – An Overall Good Experience


If you find this opium poppy guide useful please give it a “+1”:

Thank you! It helps my website a lot.


Share your own trip report in the comment section below (to ensure anonymity don’t use your real name or real email address when submitting trip reports)!

Some of the information presented here might be outdated or incorrect (check “last updated” below). Make sure, that if you are planning to try out any of the substances to research them yourself as well.

I’m 100% committed to safe and responsible legal high consumption. If you have a few minutes to spare please read my blog post about responsible and safe legal drugs use.


Opium poppy is only one of the legal highs included in Simon’s legal high guide, check out the others as well.

If you’re interested in more legal, natural sedatives, check out Simon’s Guide to Natural Sedatives!


Last updated: 2015. 11. 23.

Simon's Opium Poppy Seeds and Pods Guide
Article Name
Simon's Opium Poppy Seeds and Pods Guide
An overview of the psychoactive properties of opium poppy seeds and pods. I also sum up the desirable effects and dangers of opium poppy and provide tips for preparing a poppy seed tea, safely.

14 thoughts on “Simon’s Opium Poppy Seeds and Pods Guide”

  1. Joe calzacorta says:

    I would rather use poppy pod tea than taking pills, any help would be appreciated thanks

  2. I wanna get opium poppy leaves to make heroin or plant

    1. Making heroin, and growing poppies for making heroin is illegal in every country. It is punishable by years of imprisonment in most places (and by death in a few like the Philippines). Don’t do it! Also, let me remind you, this is a LEGAL high blog, which means we only deal with LEGAL highs, not narcotics, which are illegal worldwide. One more comment like this and you will be banned from commenting on the website. (And another thing you don’t make heroin from the leaves… poppies don’t produce heroin, they produce morphine and opium, which you turn into heroin by chemically altering it, at least get your facts right first.)

      1. Jesse Bennett says:

        Heu! Stop harassing poeple. People have rights to write whatever they want. So stop telling what people write is wrong on how people write. People can write whatever they want to write.

        1. I think your local police and any lawyer in your country would strongly disagree… Making comments about illegal narcotics, encouraging the use and/or production of illegal narcotics is a criminal offence in every country. You don’t want to go to jail because of an internet comment believe me (depending on your country’s laws, it can happen).

  3. Dianne Larsen says:

    I think I may some v. of this poppy popping up in abundance in my gardens in Nth. NSW.
    I have never planted them & they still keep growing, regardless of my relentless efforts to pull them up year for the past 8 yrs!
    If these are just ‘growing’ in my gardens, can I get into trouble with them there?
    They are quite pretty, but also driving me crazy pulling them out & binning them.
    Cheers, Dianne.

  4. Nevermind, I guess I should have realized this site is called “legal” highs. Too bad. Sorry about my comment, feel free to delete it.

    1. Yes, I did. Please be careful posting such comments on any website, I’m just looking out for you. What you were referring to in the deleted comment is clearly illegal. That sort of public comment can be used against you (very unlikely, but you never know), so please keep conversation to legal highs only (psychoactive plants, substances, which are legal in your country, or at least not globally banned).

  5. Poppy pods are great i am possibly one of the last people with a solid and reliable and just plain great source. I have been getting them on and off for 4 years. My preferred method is to put them into a blender 2-3 of them then into a coffee maker. Run through the coffee maker 2-3x then boom easy tea. i would make this at work (brought in my own coffee maker though) everyone thought it was green coffee lol!!! Just don’t make it strong or it really has to be choked down with like a 20oz soda. I use to go into the conference room to drink mine. That way nobody would ask hey why are you chasing your coffee with soda. My best tea vs drug arguement is when i got pulled over a cop asked me what was in my coffee mug because he saw me chasing it on the highway. I told him tea he opened took a whiff and said good bye!!!

  6. Caroline Sutton says:

    My brother died in October 2016 from poppy seed tea . His death has devastated our family. Please don’t mess around with poppy seed tea its effects wreck lives .

  7. anonymous says:

    can’t wait to try the seed tea, are they marked any certain way in the store? or just poppy,which could be any kind?right?

  8. Got a question…
    Will drying poppy seed pods and poppy straw with a desiccant like Damp-rid affect the alkaloid content, and or the potency?

  9. Karen J Henneberry says:

    What can you suggest for an insomnia who is trying to get off medication and wants to use a kava kava root source that is higher that 30 kavalactones – this just doesn’t help at all.

    1. Try it with Valerian root extract. If that still does not help, then you have severe insomnia, entheogens only help with mild to moderate insomnia. I’m sorry, talk to your doctor about stress management therapy and meditation too. They help as well, just don’t expect miracles. Some people, sadly, need to stay on medication for their entire life. Consult with your doctor before trying to wean yourself off your prescription medication.

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