Thursday, January 31, 2008

Uterine Receptors?

In my Gender, Crime, and Deviance class we're talking about pregnant women, drugs, and the law. There have been issues between pregnant women and the state for centuries. The government is extremely interested in women's bodies and what they produce. (And who is producing). They use illegal drug use to criminalize pregnant women and try to gain even more power over us (and those women who they wish to gain power of..)

So, we've been talking a lot about different drugs and the actual effect that the have on fetuses. For example: crack. Well first of all, if you didn't know, crack is the same thing as cocaine. It just takes a different form. OK, so we've all heard the phrase "crack baby" before, right? Well, turns out, it really hasn't been proven that crack has all the bad effects on babies while they're in the womb that we think it does. (Or, that we were TOLD that it does). In all actuality, when studies were done about "crack babies" and moral panic ensued, researchers didn't take into account the fact that most women who were on crack who were having these babies were also living in poverty. More recently, the effects of poverty on unborn fetuses have been studied and WOW guess what!? They're the same effects that "crack" supposedly cause. Making connections yet? Basically, for years researchers mistook the effects of poverty on pregnant women for the effects of crack or other drugs. Poverty= no healthcare, (or Medicaid, woopee!), which means no coverage for medicine or doctor visits, and certainly no Prenatal Vitamins. Poverty = extremely poor nutrition. Poverty = possibly no housing . Poverty = Low birth weight, prematurity, disabilities, etc.

So, getting to the point of my post. Today my professor told us about this great book called Botany of Desire. In it, the author, Michael Pollan tells an anthropological story of each plant, from the plants point of view. The four chapters are Apples, Tulips, Marijuana, and Potatoes. She told us about a section in the Marijuana chapter.

Now, I can't remember her exact words, nor did she read straight from the book, but I will try to remember this the best that I can. OK, in our bodies, we have these "receptors" that accept the things we put in our body, and decide to do with it. When we put food in our body, the receptors in our stomach know to take in the nutrients and pass what is not needed. Apparently, Pollan interviewed this guy who had been researching Marijuana for years, and he told him about this interesting research that he had been a part of. Basically, they have discovered that in every woman's uterus there are these "Marijuana Receptors" ... and when a woman smokes marijuana, the receptors in her uterus know just what to do with it! Relieve any pain or discomfort in the uterus area! So, this may mean that marijuana is a better choice as a "drug" for pain during childbirth (or cramps!) It has virtually no side effects on the baby, and relieves intense pain. The only reason that we can use the drugs during childbirth that we do use (and any drug that is prescribed) is because they are pharmaceutically created and can be taxed. (and therefore, they are LEGAL). And, those drugs make your baby come out all sleepy and drugged! Why not go natural with a drug that has LESS side effects on our baby, and may be a natural solution?

Don't worry, I don't plan on smoking pot during childbirth later in life. It's just pretty interesting. Of course, the government will continue to tell us which drugs are bad and why. And we will believe them.........

4 comments:

kelly. said...

hahaha i loved reading this. very good information you got here :) so good to talk to you last night! love you!

Lindsey said...

i'm reading the omnivore's dilemma by pollan now, i'll have to check out botany of desire next. what you're talking about - the poverty/drugs debate - is basically what megan deals with every day and tries to improve upon. and her clients are thriving now that their mothers have access to all of the community resources that she's introduced them to...the crack head mothers she works with tend to flake out/get their babies taken away, so i'm not sure about them, but all of the others, including the babies of teenagers (14, 15 years old), are doing 110% better than they would w/o her help. anyway, interesting stuff and i always like to hear about traditional beliefs getting thrown out.

Lindsey said...

oh also, the point you make about the $$ that connects the decisions hospitals make w/ pharm. companies is a really good one and seen in all branches of medicine. not that medicine is bad, just the idea that the drugs that have a bigger marketing budget are the ones that are most used and thus make the most money.

elaina said...

they have 3 24 hour marajuana vending machines in California now. and apparently it is legal if you have the prescription card to get it.