By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in News
Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at 4:20 pm
Police in Florence, Alabama say a woman was arrested after her newborn baby tested positive for having marijuana in her system.
Jennifer Lynn Sopanos, 35, of Florence, was charged with "chemical endangerment of a child," reports The Associated Press.
Sopanos' baby boy was born March 16 at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. Police claim the baby tested positive for THC, a principal psychoactive in cannabis. The mother also tested positive, according to Keith Johnson, a police detective.
Sopanos has denied using marijuana in her pregnancy, according to Johnson. She said the positive test was due to second-hand cannabis smoke.
Exactly how Sopanos would be "chemically endangering" her child is far from clear, since according to the best scientific research available, marijuana use by pregnant woman may actually reduce infant mortality.
Mothers who took no drugs at all had 15.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the study. Mothers who tested positive for cocaine had 17.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, and mothers who tested positive for opiates had 18.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.
But mothers who tested positive for cannabis had only 8.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. In other words, drug-free mothers have 57 percent more stillbirths than mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy.
The benefits to babies don't end there. The scientific research tells us that toking mothers have babies that are just as healthy (if not healthier; see above) as babies born of non-toking mothers.
And you know what else the research showed?
That the babies of pot-smoking mothers scored better on laboratory tests of cognition than babies of non-toking mothers.
It makes sense, after all. Mother's milk naturally contains the body's own THC-like substances, the endocannabinoids, which exert a number of beneficial effects on the baby, including stimulating appetite and improving sleep patterns.
Mothers give their babies a booster shot of the body's own cannabinoids in breast milk to give them the munchies, because they have to learn to eat, according to Dr. Robert Melamede, one of the leading researchers into endocannabinoids and their effects.