Don't eat poppy seeds prior to a drug test


July 12, 1998|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Q. I have been told at various times by friends and co-workers that eating poppy seeds can cause one to test false positive for either marijuana or heroin on a drug test. Is this true, and if so, XTC which drug is it that one tests positive for? How many poppy seeds does one need to eat to test positive (e.g., would one bagel with poppy seeds have this effect)?

A. Opiates (morphine and codeine, not marijuana) can be detected in urine for at least 48 hours after eating food with poppy seeds. A single bagel covered with poppy seeds could produce a false-positive test for these drugs.

Q. I am confused by this raisin remedy I keep reading about in your column. Why golden raisins and not black raisins? How much gin do you use and how long do you wait for the raisins to dry out? What happens if you eat more than nine raisins a day? How much alcohol is left in the raisins after it evaporates? Most important, does it really work against arthritis?

A. The gin and golden raisin recipe for arthritis is a home remedy. As with most such alternative approaches, there is no science to explain it.

Who knows how golden raisins were selected and why someone decided nine a day was the right dose? You empty a box of raisins into a shallow container and pour just enough gin to cover them. Wait about a week or so for most of the gin to evaporate. Nine raisins have about a drop of alcohol.

As for the effectiveness of the raisin remedy, all we have are testimonials. One recent message offered the following:

"My husband had severe pain in his legs and hip. A friend told us about using white raisins soaked in gin. He started taking this and immediately saw a remarkable improvement. He also has diabetes and hypertension. We were not sure if the pain was from traumatic arthritis (he had had a pretty major accident in the past) or perhaps peripheral neuropathy from diabetes.

"Please share our experience. It has been a miracle for my husband. You eat only nine raisins per day in the evening. He could barely get out of a chair before he started taking this home remedy."

Write to the Graedons in care of The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or e-mail to

King Features Syndicate

Pub Date: 7/12/98

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