Where to Buy Opium Poppy Seeds

Opium is a potency narcotic that can lead to both physical and psychological dependence, making it a Schedule II controlled substance.

CBP agriculture specialists and officers examining international cargo arriving at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport seized 5.7 pounds of Papaver somniferum or poppy seed pods. These pods contain natural opiates but may become coated during harvesting processes.

The Plant

Papaver somniferum, more commonly known as an “opium poppy,” is an annual flowering plant famed for its striking flowers and ornamental seed pods. Growing from 1-5 meters (3-16 feet), its lobed or toothed silver-green foliage bears vibrant blue-purple, white, or red flowers up to 13 cm wide that bloom up until their petals fall away to produce large spherical seed capsules that make a striking decorative feature in any garden or landscape design. Once their petals drop away, the plant produces sizeable spherical seed pods, which become hardy drought-tolerant landscape elements!

Poppy flowers contain alkaloids like morphine, codeine, and thebaine, which are used as painkillers, cough suppressants, and sedatives. Their seeds can also be eaten or made into tea with an opioid effect; although cultivation for drug production in the US is illegal, many other countries continue this practice for agricultural and medicinal use.

Harvesting opium has long been an intensive and laborious task, rarely changing in over 400 years. Farmers individually tap each pod using special tools and large bowls. Working from the bottom up across their field, farmers focus on tapping lower mature pods first so as not to accidentally spill any out while handling, marking any that need to be collected as a whole for further processing.

Depending upon cultivation practices, one pod may produce enough opium for up to 12 days of harvesting. Opium is produced when lactifers produce latex in the center of a pod, which secretes latex into its interior surface before sealing it back off like a scab. Opium must be harvested while still milky, but before its alkaloids have dried and lost potency.

The Pod

As early as ancient times, milky fluid dripping from cuts in Papaver somniferum seed pods has been harvested and dried to produce opium. The plant only produces its alkaloids, such as classic morphine, during an eight to 12-day ripening period when its pods ripening occurs.

Opium farmers first examine the seed pod’s crown to ensure maturity before cutting it open with a multi-bladed tool to scrape off the opium “gum” easily. After drying for several days under direct sunlight until it reaches a consistency similar to warmed beeswax, sun-dried opium is ready to be harvested and sold.

At this stage, seeds are collected and prepared for planting. Each pod produces over 1000 seeds; their outer skin encasing walls of an ovary contains an outer skin that protects and includes walls of the ovary; each pod may produce between 20-400 seeds that contain mixtures of morphine and thebaine that can later be converted to heroin – an increasingly potency drug sought out by illicit traffickers.

Raw opium contains an abundant supply of water and is, therefore, best prepared by adding it to boiling water, where its impurities dissolve as heavier adulterates settle to the bottom of the vessel. Simmered until reduced to a dark brown substance that resembles modeling clay–this substance is known as “cooked” opium and later molded into cakes, balls, or blocks for storage or sale. Opium may then be swallowed, smoked, injected, or sniffed as desired, with its effects varying depending on its application or method of administration.

The Flower

The opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is an exquisite botanical beauty that has graced gardens across the world for millennia while also serving as a powerful and dangerous drug source that has caused untold suffering to millions of individuals worldwide. Opium poppies produce natural narcotic opium as well as pharmaceutical drugs containing alkaloids such as morphine and codeine that have healing properties such as alleviating pain, suppressing coughs and diarrhea episodes, providing anesthesia, or providing sedation; however, misuse could lead to physical addiction, psychological dependency or even lead to death.

Drug production occurs via an obscure mechanism within each pod of ripened plants. During ten- to twelve-day ripening periods, this mechanism produces viscous fluid that contains alkaloids at very concentrated levels—up to eighty times higher concentrations than elsewhere on the plant.

Opium poppy flowers produce spherical seed pods measuring 13 cm (5 inches). Their petals feature vibrant hues of bluish-purple or white, and each seed pod is topped by an elegant disk featuring points on an erect crown, featuring pores through which seeds escape. Opium plants bloom each summer throughout their annual growing cycle, and their stunning blooms make for spectacular garden ornamentals; additionally, they can also be dried for their medicinal properties or used to make opium tea, popularly consumed due to its narcotic, analgesic, antidiarrheal, and psychoactive effects – unfortunately, illegal use remains.

The Seeds

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) seeds are highly prized food items used in bagels, pastries, breads, and other baked goods. Their kidney-shaped seeds contain many alkaloids, such as morphine and codeine, used to produce pharmaceutical drugs such as painkillers and cough suppressants; poppy seed oil can also be made using these seeds.[2]

Papaver somniferum is grown for three primary purposes: as a seed crop, to yield opium, and to produce other alkaloids like thebaine that are processed into drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. Although Papaver somniferum can legally be grown as part of garden and seed production in the US, producing any form of opium from it remains illegal.

Growing opium requires using a unique tool called a guitar or Ishtar to score pod skin at just the right moment to avoid rain, wind, or dew from ruining its exclusion of white, milky latex. Once collected and squeezed out of its pod, this latex is collected and squeezed out further to produce opium; later, it will be separated from seeds and dried before being processed into pills.

Opium poppy seeds are sold throughout the United States both as food and decorative ornamental flowers for gardens, public botanical and museum gardens, and private plantings. Furthermore, memorial gardens and commemorative parks frequently utilize this plant.

Papaver somniferum has been classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule II substance, which means it has an extreme potential for abuse and can lead to psychological or physical dependence. While cultivation of Papaver somniferum plants for use as narcotics is illegal under its Controlled Substances Act, some individuals unlawfully import them in order to make poppy tea – which has been reported to possess sedative, analgesic, antidiarrheal, and psychoactive effects.

The Harvest

Poppy seeds have many applications in both culinary and dessert settings. Poppies also serve as an essential source of opium that is used to manufacture painkillers and pharmaceutical drugs – though be warned: poppy plants contain naturally occurring morphine, which could prove deadly if taken excessively.

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L) is widely cultivated around the world for pharmaceutical opiates such as morphine and codeine production, as well as illicit heroin production. The liquid or dried sap erupting from pods known as “opium latex or gum” contains numerous alkaloids, including morphine, codeine, and thebaine – precious substances with great medicinal potential.

Opium in its raw state has the consistency of warm beeswax and is sticky, and is harvested by farmers using tools similar to large metal forks or blunt iron blades with short handles – farmers work across their fields tapping lower mature pods before moving onto new locations; harvesting can take several hours per pod!

Opium harvested by farmers must then be allowed to dry in the sun. Its highly volatile nature must be carefully managed to avoid fires starting due to drying opium. Once sufficient dryness has been reached, it is then beaten and molded into cakes, balls, or blocks for storage purposes.

Opium can also be used to make poppy tea, which many people drink for its sedative, antidiarrheal and psychoactive effects. While its use may provide temporary relief from symptoms like diarrhea or tension headaches, its misuse can quickly turn dangerous, leading to opioid dependency or even fatal overdoses in some users. Accordingly, the Drug Enforcement Agency strongly advises anyone considering drinking poppy seed tea to consult their primary health provider first before doing so.