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Smoking marijuana may cause early puberty and stunts growth in boys

Boys who smoke marijuana go through puberty earlier but grow more slowly than those who have never smoked the drug according to a study presented today at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Dublin, Ireland. The findings will lead to a better understanding of the dangers of drug abuse on growth and development of children.

Scientists at the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Agriculture University Rawalpindi in Pakistan studied the levels of certain hormones involved in growth and puberty in the blood of 220 non-smoking and 217 marijuana-addicted boys. Levels of puberty-related hormones such as testosterone and luteinising hormone (LH) were increased in the marijuana smokers. In contrast, growth hormone levels were decreased in this group. It was also found that non-smoking boys were on average 4 kg heavier and 4.6 inches taller by the age of 20 than the marijuana smokers.

The research team, led by Dr. Syed Shakeel Raza Rizvi, also looked at the effect of smoking marijuana on levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in 10 marijuana addicts; they found that marijuana smokers have significantly higher levels of cortisol than non-smokers. Dr Rizvi hypothesises that, ―marijuana use may provoke a stress response that stimulates onset of puberty but suppresses growth rate.

Marijuana is the most widely available illicit drug in Europe, it is estimated that it has been used by 80.5 million Europeans at least once in their life. The latest report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) reveals that the highest prevalence of marijuana use is in 15 — 24 year olds and is significantly higher among males than females. Previous studies have looked at the effect of smoking marijuana in adult rats and humans but this is the first time that the effects have been looked at in pubertal boys.

The research may have a wider impact than just health. ―Early puberty is associated with younger age of onset of drinking and smoking, and early matures have higher levels of substance abuse because they enter the risk period at an early level of emotional maturity,‖ explained Dr. Rizvi.

Boys who smoke marijuana go through puberty earlier but grow more slowly than those who have never smoked the drug according to a new study.

Can getting high make you short? A new study raises the question

Technically Incorrect: A study out of Pakistan suggests a significant height difference between boys who regularly smoke pot before puberty and those who’ve never smoked it.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.

Maybe they should call it getting low? Cannabinoid Research/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Is there a correlation between causation and correlation?

Does pot stunt your growth?

These are two sentences from my “Sentences I Have to Write One Day” file that have today found their day.

I have, you see, been informed of a scientific study that examined 220 pot-abstaining boys and 217 who were described as addicted to the weed.

Performed by researchers at the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Agricultural University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, it reached a slightly numbing conclusion: boys who habitually smoke pot before puberty are on average 4.6 inches shorter, by the time they turn 20, than those who’ve never smoked weed.

As Science Daily reports, the study was presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Dublin, where some attendees surely found it fascinating.

Not only were the non pot-smokers taller, they were also heavier by 4 kilograms (almost 9 pounds).

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The researchers said they found increased levels of testosterone and luteinising hormone (LH) in the smokers — hormones that help accelerate puberty — as well as decreased levels of growth hormone.

They also looked at the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in 10 heavy pot smokers and found an increase. Dr. Syed Shakeel Raza Rizvi, the research team leader, suggested that cannabis use could trigger a stress response that brings on puberty and simultaneously stunts growth.

Clearly, more research is needed when the conclusions are potentially startling and bear serious implications for human development.

As marijuana laws become ever more relaxed, there will be more questions about the drug’s chemical effects.

In this case, it’s unclear why the research was limited to boys. Would the same effects be observed with girls?

Still, perhaps this layman can conclude there are many things best left until after puberty. Pot may well be one of them.

Technically Incorrect: A study out of Pakistan suggests a significant height difference between boys who regularly smoke pot before puberty and those who’ve never smoked it. ]]>