(HNGN) – Boys who smoke marijuana are 4-inches shorter than boys who have never smoked cannabis, according to a new study presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Dublin, Ireland.
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 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. Researchers hypothesized that marijuana use may provoke a stress response that stimulates onset of puberty but suppresses growth rate, according to a press release.