Interesting Facts

    The narcotic properties of opium have been know since the days in ancient Egypt when it was used as a sleep-inducing medicine.  In ancient Greek, an extract made from the Papaver somniferum plant, was drank as a pain killer and referred to as "poppy-wine" but the Greek physician, Hippocrates.  The Arabs spread their knowledge of opium and its narcotic and medicinal use to the world, referring to the poppy as Abou-el-noum, "father of sleep." 
    The abuse of opium became a problem in China in nineteenth century and soon after became illegal. 
Today opium is illegal in the United States yet it is still smuggled in from Burma, China, and Thailand and it's use as the narcotic heroin is still very much present here.  

Warner Brother's The Wizard of Oz

“And now, my beauties, something with poison in it, I think. Something with poison in it, but attractive to the eye,  and soothing to the smell. Poppies… Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep. Sleep. Now they’ll sleep!”
                                           -The Wicked Witch of the West
                                                     Warner Brother's The Wizard of Oz

Heroin is produced when crude opium latex is gathered from the fruit-capsule and let dry for 24 hours.  It is then a brown, gum-like texture (below) and is processed and cooked with the addition of various chemical catalysts. Opium and the drugs that can be derived from opium can be very addictive.

                      Image found on the public domain

However, the opium latex isn't just an illegal drug.  The opium resin contains several important alkaloids; morphine, codeine, noscapine, papaverine, and thebaine can all be isolated from the dried up contents of the fruit pod.  All of the aformentioned components are vastly used in today's pharmaceutical industry.  Derivatives from the opium found in Papaver somniferum are used as narcotic analgesics, astringent, hypnotics, and sedatives in modern medicine.

The seeds from P. somniferum are often used in baked goods and pastries.  Poppy oil is widely used as an edible cooking oil. The oil from poppy plants can also be used in paints, varnishes, and soaps.  Opium poppies also serve as a beautiful addition to a garden with such an abundant variety of colors and shapes, there's no question why they're considered an ornamental plant.

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So is it true that if you eat too many poppy seeds you could falsely test positive on a drug test?

The Discovery Channel's MythBusters show did a piece testing whether poppy seeds could cause a false positive on an over-the-counter drug test. Two people were tested for opiates before the experiment began. Both tested negative on this initial test. One person then ate three poppy seed bagels and the other ate poppy seed cake. Both tested positive for opiates within 30 minutes of ingesting the seeds and continued to test positive until 16 hours after ingestion. The same brand of drug test was used in all cases.

This was only one case, and many of the companies that produce these drug tests deny the possibility of a false positive from poppy seeds. However, without substantial evidence, I wouldn't chance it!