Sunday, July 29, 2018
Pregnancy and Cannabis: Dr. Melanie Dreher
"Cannabis exposure during the prenatal period ... at the very least we can say there is no harm" ...
Co-author of what has become more commonly known as 'The Jamaica Study' (Prenatal Marijuana Exposure and Neonatal Outcomes in Jamaica: An Ethnographic Study [full study link at end of article]), Dr Melanie Dreher is a nurse and an anthropologist. She has enjoyed a distinguished research career as the principal investigator for several cross-cultural studies examining cannabis in the context of Caribbean society. As a doctoral student in anthropology at Columbia University, she conducted the first ethnographic study of ganja in Jamaica. That early work opened the door to three decades of funded research on the social context of 'marijuana' and the impact of cannabis on the health, development and performance of adults and children. Dr Dreher has authored and co-authored two books on cannabis, numerous peer-reviewed articles, and several government reports. Throughout her career, she has been a consistent advocate for an objective and scientific appraisal of cannabis and its relationship with society. In addition to her academic role, she has taken on the responsibility of speaking to community groups, professional organisations and academics, using her leadership positions in health and education to enlighten the public on the history of 'marijuana' and its role in other societies. She has served as an expert witness in cannabis-related cases in several states. As Dean of Nursing at the University of Iowa, her College of Nursing hosted the first clinical conference on medical 'marijuana', almost 20 years ago, with the goal of exposing clinicians to an informed and reasoned use of cannabis as medicine. Dr Dreher was awarded the first 'Lester Grinspoon National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Award' for her sustained commitment to seeking the truth about 'marijuana'. While conducting her research, she received the Ambassador’s citation for her humanitarian work in Jamaica.
In 2013, Dr Melanie Dreher discussed the 40 years of studies she was involved with in Jamaica. There, cannabis is used for a variety of medicinal, therapeutic and preventative uses. These studies refuted many of the assumptions attributed to cannabis use, particularly regarding pregnancy and infant development.