Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Minuscule Amounts of THC Found in Breast Milk - Is it Harmful?

The headlines are reading, "THC Found in Breast Milk!" but like previous studies, a new study in the journal Pediatrics found THC in breast milk only at the nanogram level (on average, 9.5 ng/mL). Since an adult dose of cannabis is 10 mg, and babies take in about 750 mL daily, this level is about 1,000 times less. The most THC found was 323 ng/mL, 30 times less than an adult dose.   

An oral absorption level of 6% was used to calculate plasma concentration in infants by the authors, who confirmed that blood levels in infants would be 0.040 ng/mL, or ~1000 times less than an adult dose. Still, they worried about accumulation in infants exposed daily. Using cannabis less often, and using methods other than inhaling, reduced levels in milk. 

"The question is, does it matter? ... Is it possible that even low levels in breast milk may have an effect on a child's neurodevelopment? And we don't know the answer to that," study author Christina Chambers of UCSD told CNN

The authors hope to follow up with neurobehavioral testing on the infants to help determine whether these levels of THC in breast milk are safe. (Too bad that NIDA refused to fund a follow-up study on Melanie Dreher's Jamaican study on marijuana-using mothers and their children.) 

The study was funded by NIH and The Gerber Foundation. Gerber makes infant formulas "inspired by breast milk." The US recently attempted to derail an international resolution supporting breast feeding at the behest of infant formula manufacturers.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Women's Equality Day Honors The Struggle for Our Right to Vote

On Women's Equality Day, we celebrate suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul.

It was once said in Washington that there were two signs of spring: the return of Congress to the nation’s capital and the sight of Susan B. Anthony’s red shawl as she also returned to lobby congressmen. I got to see the shawl (pictured) at the Smithsonian, just before NORML's annual Lobby Day in DC this year.

Born in 1820 into a Quaker family committed to social equality, Anthony collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17, and in 1856 became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1866, she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton initiated the American Equal Rights Association, which campaigned for equal rights for both women and African Americans. They went on to publish a women's rights newspaper called The Revolution and co-founded the National Woman Suffrage Association. Source.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Of Harold and Maude, and Hal

Maude turns on Harold
It's probably no accident that Cameron Diaz's favorite movie as the title character in There's Something About Mary (1998) is Harold and Maude (1971), since Mary and Ted (Ben Stiller) smoke a joint together after they reunite. In Harold and Maude, Ruth Gordon (as Maude) plays an 80-year-old woman who turns a young Harold (Bud Cort) onto marijuana, enabling him to finally open up to someone about the source of his strange behavior, and learn to love life.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Yellow Journalism Pisses on American Icon Annie "Get Your Gun" Oakley

Annie Oakley as "The Western Girl"
An episode of PBS's "American Experience" reveals that Annie Oakley, the first female American superstar who was born on this day in 1860, was smeared by William Randolph Hearst's Chicago newspaper as being in jail and destitute after stealing a pair of man's pants to buy cocaine.

AP picked up the story and it ran in dozens of newspapers before it was revealed that the person arrested was a burlesque dancer posing as Oakley. Annie got her (legal) guns and sued 55 newspapers—the largest libel suit ever—even though most had printed retractions or apologies. She won 54 of the cases, including a $27,000 suit against Hearst, but the six-year struggle lost her money and career opportunities in the end.