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How long does it take to digest poppy seeds?

Updated July 19, 2017

Poppy seeds are a common addition to baked goods and salad dressings. Not only are poppy seeds pleasing to taste, but they also have the medicinal properties to relieve pain and induce sleep. Opium poppy seeds are the sources for pain killers such as morphine and codeine.

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The speed that poppy seeds digest is different for everyone. In a healthy human, the total digestion time for a meal may take 40 to 50 hours, according to Colorado State University. However, health, stress, reproductive cycles and gender influence digestive time.

Digestive Variables

Some portions of a meal digest more quickly than others. Some particles of a meal can remain in the stomach while faster-digesting portions enter the colon. Additionally, digestive problems, such as constipation, may lengthen the digestion time of poppy seeds.


Common poppy seeds come from opium-producing poppies. Even in small quantities, the alkaloids in poppy seeds can trigger a false positive for opiates in a drug test. According to the University of Rochester, poppy seeds should be avoided at least 3 days before drug testing.

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About the Author

Based in Colorado, Jacqueline Lerche has been writing alternative health, natural science and environment-related articles since 2009. Lerche holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and an Environmental Affairs Certification from Colorado State University.

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