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Smoking cannabis before puberty may cause stunted growth in boys

Boys who smoke cannabis before reaching puberty may grow less than those who don’t, according to research.

Scientists from Pakistan studied the hormones in the blood of 437 boys, including 217 who regularly smoked cannabis before puberty.

The researchers found puberty-related hormones such as testosterone were higher in the drug users and growth hormones were reduced.

By the age of 20, non-cannabis smokers were on average 4kg (8.8lbs) heavier and 4.6 inches (11.6cm) taller than smokers.

Scientists also found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol were significantly higher in saliva samples from boys taking cannabis.

The scientists, led by Dr Syed Rizvi from the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Agriculture University in Rawalpindi, wrote in a study: “Marijuana use may provoke stress responses resulting in stimulation of pubertal development and suppression of growth rate.”

It is thought that 80.5 million Europeans have had cannabis at least once in their life.

According to the latest report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) the highest prevalence of marijuana use is among male 15 to 24-year-olds.

Dr Rizvi said: “Early puberty is associated with younger age 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.”

Source: Irish Examiner, 19/05/15

Posted by on 05/19 at 01:14 PM in
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