Positive Marijuana Tests In Newborns, Certain soaps used to wash babies shortly after birth may cause the baby to test positive for marijuana on some newborn screening tests, a new study suggests. In the study, urine samples that contained minute amounts of any of five baby soaps – Johnson & Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash, J&J Bedtime Bath, CVS Night-Time Baby Bath, Aveeno Soothing Relief Creamy Wash and Aveeno Wash Shampoo – gave a positive result on a drug screening test for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana.
The researchers began their investigation after nurses at a North Carolina hospital reported an increase in the number of newborns testing positive for marijuana.
The amount of soap in the urine needed to produce a positive test result was tiny, less than 0.1 milliliters, the researchers said.
It’s important to note the soaps do not produce a “high,” or any other effects of marijuana, in infants. “It’s not marijuana a in any way, shape or form,” said study researcher Catherine Hammett-Stabler, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
A screening test that indicates a baby has been exposed to marijuana can lead to the involvement of social services, and accusations of child abuse, the researchers said.
Given these consequences, it’s important for health-care providers and laboratory staffs to be aware that these soaps may lead to a positive test for marijuana, and to consider confirming positive tests with a more sensitive method, the researchers said.
“We really did this to help protect families from being falsely accused” of drug use, and to help ensure that intervention efforts are directed to babies who are truly at risk of drug exposure, said study researcher Dr. Carl Seashore, a pediatrician in the newborn nursery at UNC Chapel Hill.