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How cannabis stunts growth

Monday May 18th, 2015

Young teenagers who smoke cannabis may experience early puberty - and reduced growth, a major European conference is to be told.

The drug could be responsible for losing boys more than four inches in height, the European Congress of Endocrinology in Dublin, Ireland, will hear.

The findings come from a study of more than 400 male adolescents at Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

By comparing cannabis smokers and non-smokers, researchers found the drug linked to an increase in levels of testosterone and other hormones that stimulate puberty. But there was a reduction in levels of growth hormones.

Researcher Dr Syed Shakeel Raza Rizvi, from Pir Mehr Ali Shah Agriculture University, said: "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."

* In a second study reported to the conference, researchers warned that high levels of salt in the diet may delay puberty.

So far the idea has been tested on laboratory rats.

Researcher Dori Pitynski, from the University of Wyoming, USA, said: “High fat diet is thought to accelerate the onset of puberty but our work demonstrates that rats fed a high salt diet even with a high fat diet will still show a delay in puberty onset.

"Our research highlights for the first time that the salt content of a diet has a more significant effect on reproductive health than the fat content.”

She added: “Current salt-loading in Western populations has the potential to drastically affect reproductive health, and warrants further attention."

Tags: Alternative Therapy | Asia | Europe | Infancy to Adolescence | North America

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