Q&A: What Are the Risks of Poppy Tea?

Question:

I’ve been drinking the lowest dose of Poppy pods, 1 teaspoon per day now for 5 days.  Ive found it a great antidepressant for me, like no other!  MAOIs, SSRIs none of them.

My question now is, is this very low dose daily dangerous for me? is it addictive? will I go through hard withdrawals with long term use?

Please note that I would never increase this dose, I don’t wanna get high, don’t want euphoria, just this very low dose that makes me feeling really normal, Ive had no background of opium use before this.  I’m a 23 year old male.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Thank you Lady!

—Anonymous

Answer

Boy, Anonymous, can Mary ever relate to this.  Mary knows firsthand about treatment-resistant depression/anxiety and the benefits of poppies, though she would never recommend them to anyone due to their illegal and potentially addictive nature.

To address your question, let me break down the basics for you.  These are the most important points you should know about poppies:

*Poppy pods (Papaver somniferum) contain opium, a psychoactive substance made up of morphine and codeine.  Other less-active alkaloids found in poppies include papaverine, thebaine and oripavine.

*Poppy pods are a long-acting opiate, producing effects that can last up to 14 hours.  In addicted persons, longer-acting opiates require less frequent dosing and are sometimes used to taper down from more powerful drugs like heroin or fentanyl.

*Regular use of poppies can lead to physical dependence.  You know you’re dependent when you experience withdrawals upon discontinuing a drug.  Physical withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, flu-like aches and insomnia.  Psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, restlessness and mood swings are also common and can be dangerous in those with pre-existing mental conditions.  Dosage, frequency of use and other factors influence the severity and length of withdrawals.

*Poppy pods can cause psychological addiction, though this is more common in people who use high doses frequently for the purpose of “getting high”.  Symptoms of psychological addiction include strong cravings/preoccupation with a drug and an inability to stop despite negative consequences.

*Opiates were once prescribed as antidepressants for their ability to ease anxiety and depression.  This practice was largely discontinued after less addictive drugs were invented in the 1950s, though they are occasionally prescribed for this purpose today for severe treatment-resistant cases.

*Unlike alcohol and tobacco, opiates do not cause chronic organ damage with long-term use.  The most common side effects include constipation, erectile dysfunction and physical dependence.

*It is possible to overdose on poppy pods.  Mixing pods with other depressants like Xanax or alcohol greatly increases the risk of dying from respiratory depression and cardiac arrest.  The alkaloid content can vary greatly between batches or even among pods from the same batch.  Grinding up an entire batch of pods at once, mixing the powder evenly and measuring it carefully is the safest way to dose.

*Frequent use of poppies can lead to tolerance, or a need for higher doses to achieve desired effects.  Taking periodic breaks and keeping the dose low can help counter this effect.

*While poppy pods are widely available, they are technically illegal in the U.S. and many other countries (only the seeds are legal to sell or possess).  Even though the likelihood of being busted for using poppy pods is low, it’s always a possibility.  Poppy alkaloids can be detected by drug screening tests as well.  Be discreet.

To summarize, your use of low-dose poppies to control depression is unlikely to cause serious health problems unless you increase the dose or frequency of use.  You may experience withdrawals if you attempt to quit, but they’re unlikely to be too severe at such low doses.  Despite their natural origins, poppies are no less dangerous than other opiates.  The risks of overdose and addiction are the same.  Compared with other popular drugs like alcohol and tobacco, however, opium is less likely to cause chronic health problems when used responsibly.

Respect the pod and it will remain a helpful ally; abuse it and it will become a destructive force that magnifies your emotional problems a hundredfold.  Treat it as you would any antidepressant–as a controlled-dose, once-daily medication–and you should be fine.

Your Populist Poppy Podhead Priestess,

Mary Microgram

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