Tony and Debbie took their 18-month-old to the pediatrician for a check-up. Due to some complications at birth, the doctor wanted to do regular blood-work and urinalysis on their son, Bobby. When they got the results, they were shocked.
“Bobby’s urine showed traces of marijuana,” the doctor informed them. “Are you forcing him to smoke pot?”
They couldn’t believe it. No - Bobby never had access to pot, but Tony and Debbie are occasional smokers. They use recreationally at least once a week – in the home. Apparently, Bobby’s little lungs were inhaling the smoke right alongside Mom and Dad. This means, as a second-hand smoker, Bobby actually was “forced to smoke pot.”
Mary Jane in the Nursery?
Think this scenario doesn't happen very often? Think again. Researchers recently examined this important issue. In the first study of its kind, a research team led by Karen Wilson of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai discovered that THC (the primary psychoactive chemical in marijuana) is traceable in the urine of children exposed to secondary marijuana smoke. Pediatric Research quickly published the findings.
In the past, methods have been used to successfully measure traces of marijuana in the users. This study, however, involved the use of a new analytic method developed by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to specifically look at secondhand marijuana smoke exposure.
The study examined urine samples of babies aged one month to two years who were hospitalized with bronchiolitis (a common respiratory infection) in Colorado between 2013 and 2105. Researchers analyzed the children’s urine to look for traces of marijuana metabolites (COOH-THC) and surveyed parents to determine marijuana use in the household. Researchers found COOH-THC in 16 percent of the children.
Wilson notes that the study, “...does suggest that, like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is inhaled by children in the presence of adults who are using it.”
A Valuable Lesson
One hope for this study is to inform parents that casually smoking marijuana around their children is not without effect. Their kids’ bodies are being exposed to the drug. As a passive infant lying in a crib, their baby is inhaling a psychoactive chemical. “This research will help inform appropriate educational materials and outreach to parents and caregivers who use both marijuana and tobacco in the presence of their children," Wilson says.
A child’s still-developing body requires the best care possible to mature into a healthy adult. Clearly, blowing THC into their system doesn’t provide the vitamins they need to grow big and strong.
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