Opium is a highly addicting drug that is extracted from the seeds of certain poppy plants. Papaver somniferum, also known as the opium poppy, is the only poppy plant known to produce the alkaloids needed to make opium.


Opium poppies are annual plants that grow between 20 and 60 inches in height. They have large erect leaves and flowers with four to eight petals in color varieties of pink, violet, blue and red. The fruits are capsule-like with an expanded top that have small holes for the seeds.


Opium poppy seeds contain alkaloids that create opium, which is used in the production of narcotics such as morphine and codeine. Because of this ability, opium poppies are illegal to grow in home gardens unless you have a permit.


It is important to note that opium poppy seeds are commonly used in poppy seed bagels and breads. Consuming these types of bagels and breads triggers sensitive urine drug tests. This happens for up to two days after eating poppy seeds.