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THC lingers in breastmilk with no clear peak point

New mothers who like to smoke marijuana might wind up exposing their babies to THC through their own breast milk, a new study says.

THC, the intoxicating compound in cannabis, dissolves in the fats contained in human milk, researchers found. Mother’s milk produced by weed users always had detectable amounts of THC, even when the mothers had abstained for 12 hours, results show.

“Breastfeeding parents need to be aware that if they use cannabis, their infants are likely consuming cannabinoids via the milk they produce, and we do not know whether this has any effect on the developing infant,” lead researcher Courtney Meehan, a biological anthropologist at Washington State University, said in a news release.

Guidelines for new mothers say to wait at least two hours after drinking alcohol before breastfeeding. There are no similar guidelines for cannabis…there’s no consistent time when a weed user can expect the THC concentrations in their breast milk to peak and then decline.

For participants who used cannabis just once during the study, THC in breast milk peaked between 30 minutes and 2.5 hours after use before declining.

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Ask Dr. Universe: Why do we have nose hairs?

Despite being a curious science cat, I must confess I haven’t spent much time looking up human noses. But I have noticed that human nostrils can be a bit…furry.

I talked about what’s inside your nose with my friend Edward Johnson. He teaches classes about the human body in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University.

He told me that nose hairs only grow in your nose’s vestibule. That’s the inside of the part of your nostrils that you can flare out. The nose hair’s job is to filter the air you breathe in through your nose.

When you breathe in, air enters your nose of course. But so do other things like little bits of dust, pollen and pollution like from wildfire smoke. Sometimes bacteria and viruses are hanging out in the air you breathe, too.

Your nose hairs are like guards for the entrance to your nose.

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Grizzlies are returning to WA’s North Cascades. How will that work?

Among the jagged peaks of the North Cascades, lush alpine meadows rich with berries and wildflowers blanket valleys carved by glaciers, some threaded with trickling creeks. But these idyllic landscapes are missing one big thing that had helped sustain them over the millennia: grizzly bears.

That will soon change after federal officials decided last month to reintroduce grizzlies here, where there hasn’t been a confirmed sighting of the species in nearly three decades.

One study examining samples of spruce needles from trees growing up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) away from Alaska salmon streams found that about 17% of nitrogen 30 feet up in the air came from salmon and about 82% of it had passed through a grizzly bear.

If salmon can be recovered in significant numbers where bears live, they can be a critical link in moving ocean-derived nutrients into high elevation terrestrial environments, said Charles Robbins, a co-author on the studies and a professor and director of research at the Washington State University Bear Center. This would have an effect on all plants.

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Seattle Times
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Watering ‘Seeds’ through painting, community engagement

Visual artist Jiemei Lin may be based in Pullman, but she’s left her mark – literally – on Spokane. As you admire the Black Lives Matter mural, you’ll see Lin’s vibrant orange, red, yellow and blue flowers in the first ‘T’ in “Matter.”

If you take a peek between Howard and Wall streets, you’ll see Lin’s depiction of a young girl and boy each swimming in their own pool of icy blue water in celebration of similarities across cultures, even though we might physically be worlds apart.

And if you walk by the Warren Apartments on the corner of Riverside Avenue and Browne Street, you’ll see a young woman having tea with her grandmother, a young couple looking into each other’s eyes, a mother with her child, a woman cleaning a rug hanging on a clothesline and a large rabbit to boot. The mural is filled in with brightly colored flowers and rich green and blue leaves.

Lin’s corner of Spokane grew a little bigger, albeit temporarily, when she opened her solo show “Seeds” on Friday at the Terrain Gallery.

“I feel like plants are something that always inspires me to look over my journey because plants, sometimes, are very unpredictable,” Lin said. “You don’t know what result you’ll get during the process and the veins, the leaves will grow by their own. You really don’t have that much control over it.”

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Ask Dr. Universe: Why do we need the sun?

Right now, the sun is shining through my window. It feels warm on my muzzle.

I talked about the sun with Guy Worthey. He’s a professor of astronomy and physics at Washington State University.

He told me that our lives depend on the sun.

“The sun keeps you warm and powers everything,” Worthey said. “Without it, Earth would be a frozen nightmare.”

The sun is a yellow dwarf star. It’s made of super-hot gases. Since it isn’t solid, the part of the sun we call the surface is really its inner atmosphere—called the photosphere. If you could stick a thermometer into the photosphere, it would read 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. But the sun’s outer atmosphere—called the corona—reaches a whopping 3.5 million degrees.

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