What happened when nurses at a North Carolina hospital noticed higher than normal numbers of infants testing positive for marijuana? No, thankfully they did not call the police. Instead, the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill instituted a study and found something quite bizarre: that baby soap commonly used on infants were resulting in positive marijuana screenings. Learn which 5 baby soaps caused the babies to test positive.
Baby Soap and THC
Researchers aren’t sure why the soaps are causing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the active component in marijuana) to show up on test results, but they are reassuring parents that the soaps are not making their babies high. According to My Health News Daily, the test results could be positive because “some of the compounds in the soap have a structure that is partly similar to THC, or it could be that chemicals in the soap change the way the test works.”
They believe that the soap residues remaining on the babies’ skin is finding its way into urine samples collected for the drug tests, not because the soaps are leaving traces within the baby.
Soaps that they found apt to trigger the positive drug screen include the following:
- Johnson & Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash
- Johnson & Johnson Bedtime Bath
- CVS Night-Time Baby Bath
- Aveeno Soothing Relief Creamy Wash
- Aveeno Wash Shampoo
“We really did this to help protect families,” said Dr. Carl Seashore of UNC-Chapel Hill and a researcher on the study. A positive drug test in an infant could be sent over to the authorities if medical professionals thought the child was at risk. A sweet-smelling baby soap could ultimately be a piece of the puzzle that results in child protective services investigating a parent’s parental competency.
Usually, drug screenings are only performed on infants when the mother is believed to be “high-risk” for drug addiction, something that could be determined by a new mother’s own admissions or by her lack of prenatal care. UNC-Chapel Hill hospital conducts such screenings on anywhere from 10-40% of newborns every month.
Following the study, the hospital at UNC-Chapel Hill now sends all positive newborn drug tests to a lab for further confirmation, something most other hospitals don’t due simply due to cost and time.
While a single positive test for marijuana wouldn’t likely cause someone to lose their child, it could warrant an unnecessary investigation. It’s importantl that the information from this study be shared with hospitals and pediatricians across the country to avoid any possible misunderstandings.