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Mellow Moms: Marijuana Babies Nearly Twice as Likely to Survive

A very healthy newborn poses for a picture on a white background, even though his mom smoked marijuana while pregnant.
Photo by Elnaz6

Joint Opinions

Mellow Moms: Marijuana Babies Nearly Twice as Likely to Survive

It’s 3 a.m. and I lean over my wife staggered in front of the porcelain toilet idol, pull her hair back from the retching, and hand her the vape pen. She takes it like it was Jesus himself who signed her weed script, inhales, and her convulsing storm calms.

“I just hope to God this isn’t hurting our baby,” she says.

It wasn’t. We had hit the bookstores on medical cannabis and pregnancy as soon as that stork first shit on the house, and what we learned mellowed the uptight Nancy Reagan of our consciences. We discovered that actually quite a bit of what’s in cannabis is good for a fetus.

One of the most shocking things I learned is that a baby that tests positive for THC has nearly twice the chance of surviving as a fetus that never inhaled.

A study published in the July 1, 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics examined 2,964 infants for fatal outcomes during their first two years of life.

Forty-four percent of the children tested positive for drugs targeted by the DEA, including 30.5 percent for cocaine, 20.2 percent for opiates, and 11.4 percent for cannabis. Strikingly, cannabis not only had the lowest infant mortality rate, but at 8.9 deaths per 1,000 births, it ranked considerably lower than babies who did not test positive for any drugs. Babies who pissed clean actually had 15.7 deaths per 1,000 births. Cannabis babies had nearly half the mortality rate.

Incidentally, crack babies had 17.7 deaths per 1,000 births, and those on the junk had 18.4 deaths per 1,000 births. Even the hard stuff caused only a slightly higher incident of death.

Though babies of mothers who medically used cannabis during their pregnancy face nearly half the mortality rate of those of mothers who did not, that still does not prevent the state in higher oppressed areas of the country from stepping in and removing THC-positive children from the parents who love them.

Police in Lansing, Mich., took Steve and Maria Green’s 7 month old daughter after hair tests revealed the presence of 0.3 picograms of marijuana in her hair (one picogram per milliliter is one trillionth of a gram).

Police in Alabama arrested and charged Jennifer Lynn Sopanos with chemical endangerment of a child after her baby tested positive for THC.

Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years. Just as the receptors in our brains absorb THC like sunlight in a leaf, cannabis perfectly treats many of the problematic symptoms of pregnancy. Nausea, aches and pains, headaches, that feeling like you’ve just been run over by a train, respond to its effects like a baby to a boob. Cannabis is natural. And despite cultural assumptions, it turns out it just might actually be good for you.

Read more about cannabis and pregnancy in Issue 11 of Cannabis Now Magazine, on stands June 2014

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Claude Cat M.D.

    June 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Hey Clyde Gallagher, I’m calling you out, because it is clear that you did not even actually take the necessary time to read the actual study itself in its entirety. Either that, or you did not have the necessary skills to properly read & interpret the study objectively (which, you’re a journalist, not a doctor or scientist, so of course you don’t), or even had access to the full article, because what the study is actually saying & what you think & misinterpret it to say are wholly different & not at all one & the same.

    Unlike the great majority of people such as yourself, I actually have full access to the entire article & can therefore diligently read through & evaluate the study as a whole, including its data, methods, & results, rather than just lazily reading through the abstract & then drawing my own biased conclusions from what I think the authors themselves concluded. If you can’t understand the importance of doing something like that, or don’t have the necessary skills to read medical literature & statistics, then again, you shouldn’t be reporting on the results of such studies as if you even have the slightest clue what you’re talking about, because it does significantly more harm than good. To professionals who are actually in the field of medicine & the realm of science, it makes you look extremely naive & unseasoned on the proper & objective way of interpreting studies correctly, & as such, will ironically CONTINUE to do more harm than good to your movement by the spread of misinformation & poorly interpreted data. You know, those EXACT same kinds of deceptive tactics used by the perpetrators of “Reefer madness”, which you all vehemently shun & abhor?

    Allow me to clarify & give some much-needed insight into what the data from this study is ACTUALLY trying to say, which doesn’t even necessarily mean it’s factual or true. There is a difference in science & medicine between “facts” & “findings”, & I suggest you learn the difference, because it is incredibly important. These are just the FINDINGS from the authors of this ONE study. And you didn’t even decipher them correctly. One cannot reasonably extrapolate from this single study that it is true that marijuana-positive babies have a lower mortality rate than otherwise healthy drug-negative babies. To say otherwise is not only disingenuous, but willfully ignorant & deceitful. One cannot just lazily read the abstract & conclusion of a study to be able to actually glean what a study is trying to say overall, especially in contrasting context to what the medical literature says as a current scientific consensus. There’s also this whole “Methods”, “Results”, & “Discussion” part to many studies which one cannot willfully ignore, unless they are biased & just trying to promote a certain kind of agenda disingenuously.

    There were a MERE 44 DEATHS in this one study out of a total of 2964 births within the first 2 years of life, 26 of which were in the drug-negative group, & only 18 of which were in the drug-positive group (a group which includes cocaine, opiates, & cannabis together). THAT’S where those mortality rate numbers come from (15.7 in the drug-negative group vs. 13.7 in the drug-positive group), NOT from numbers from the general population overall.

    Such a sample size bias would actually have a naively unskilled study interpreter wrongly conclude that there are LESS deaths in the first 2 years of life in drug-positive babies than in drug-negative babies overall, which if anyone in their right mind realized, is absolutely positively COUNTERINTUITIVE to what the actual scientific consensus & medical literature show! Crack babies & those born to heroin-addicted mothers have SIGNIFICANTLY greater morbidity & mortality overall compared to healthy drug-negative babies. Even the least knowledgeable individual would automatically agree with this, & for good reason. If you would like me to post more legitimate & comprehensive studies on the effects of marijuana on the fetus & newborn as well, then I will be happy to oblige, but stop trying to blatantly deceive & misinform your fellow marijuana advocates about the false notion that marijuana comes without any adverse effects, particularly when it comes to a developing fetus! And just because a baby is drug-negative doesn’t mean it can’t also suffer from some other congenital or acquired illness beyond the scope of the study which is the actual root cause of its demise!

    Might I also add, you naively misinterpreted the data (& as such so did all of your followers & Facebook sharers as well), failing to understand the extrapolation from the study as to the origin of the mortality rate numbers. You essentially tried to compare apples to oranges & failed miserably in doing so to anyone who actually understands how to read & interpret medical literature accurately. What most people with a mindset like yours & the lack of the necessary background experience in the realm of science & medicine such as yourself do not understand or appreciate is that there is GREAT difficulty & complexity in learning how to objectively & properly interpret scientific papers, & such comes with knowledge, experience, & time. Not all studies are created equal, & many of them have limitations, confounding variables, & sadly to say, poor designs & study methods as well. This study doesn’t even ATTEMPT to try to explain any potential pathophysiology as to why the marijuana-positive babies have lower mortality rates, & much more likely could EASILY be chalked up to sample-size bias rather than any innate underlying “protective” factor due to marijuana use in the mothers. But you STILL promoted this highly flawed & limited single study as dogmatic PROOF that marijuana-positive babies have a lower mortality rate than normal healthy drug-negative babies, & you didn’t even TRY to give any sort of valid verifiable reason other than the same shallow blanket statement which most cognitively biased marijuana supporters give, simply that “marijuana is good”. Hard-hitting & effectively convincing scientific evidence you presented there towards your hypothesis. WOW. Unbelievable.

    And yet another basic fine point must be made here, which pretty much clearly illustrates & illuminates that neither you nor any of your mindless drones ever even read the actual study in its entirety at all, meaning that neither you nor they could have possibly even been able to interpret the data objectively or properly anyway. These babies were NOT drug-tested based on their “piss” (so they never even “pissed clean” or “dirty” in the first place), but instead were drug-tested based on MECONIUM ANALYSIS. So if you don’t know what that word is or what it means, then you need to “educate yourself” & look it up.

    Again, this is just ONE study, a fairly bad one at that, considering much of the data isn’t even statistically significant! And it most certainly doesn’t even actually show what this ill-informed & misinforming journalist blog writer with absolutely no background in the medical sciences, nor any of his blind followers & biased Facebook sharers of this study, want it to show!

    If you want to advance the marijuana movement, then you have to stop LYING to yourself & spreading misinformation to others about the perceived absence of adverse effects in regards to marijuana use, because just like every other drug out there, it DOES have its own negative effects, & particularly just like every other psychoactive drug out there, it has its own psychologically addictive properties which can in fact cause psychiatric & neurologic sequelae to a developing fetus. People like me, who are actual M.D.s, will be MUCH more wary to whom we prescribe such a drug if more & more states decide to legalize it strictly for medicinal use, in great part because of people like you who are severely biased, ill-informed, & dishonest to the cause.

  2. Stacy Chapman

    June 18, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Does the author of this article know how to interpret scientific data and research or are they just trying to justify his wife vaping during pregnancy? I did not draw the same conclusions after reading the abstract of the research. It just seems like twisting facts and research to validate the author’s topic. Furthermore, this article is almost 20 years old!!!! Current data in the last ten years would be relevant

  3. Sondra René Eisenman-Torian

    June 17, 2014 at 8:38 am

    chemical endangerment to a child!??? Do they make laws up as you get arrested??? I have never heard ofbsuch a thing!!!

  4. Jim Geesman

    June 17, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Just might actually?? It’s a natural medicine that feeds the central control system of human physiology, the endocannabinoid system. Of course it’s good for people.

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