Evidence indicates that normal pattern of progression of puberty is altered under certain conditions of stress, whereas growth rate is affected by sustained higher concentrations of cortisol, a marker of stress reactivity. Available data show that early teens commonly resort to use of drugs. The use of drugs may evoke stress responses, which may alter pubertal development and affect growth rate. Body weight (BW), height, BMI and plasma concentrations of LH, testosterone (T), GH and cortisol were determined in non-smoking (n=220) and marijuana addicted (n=217) boys. Acute effect of marijuana on salivary concentrations of cortisol was assessed by giving 0.25 g of marijuana in cigarettes to ten drug addict volunteers and determining salivary cortisol concentrations 15 min before and 1, 5, 15 and 30 min after smoking. Data were analysed using Students t-test, ANOVA and Pearson correlation. Mean BW, height, BMI and plasma LH, T and cortisol concentrations increased throughout puberty, whereas plasma concentrations of GH attaining peak concentrations at mid puberty declined during late puberty/adolescence in both groups. Although circulating concentrations of LH, T and cortisol showed positive correlation throughout puberty, plasma GH concentrations were negatively correlated with LH, T and cortisol at late puberty/adolescence in both groups. The plasma concentrations of LH, T and cortisol were significantly higher in addict boys, whereas plasma GH concentrations were significantly higher in non-smoking boys during puberty. The higher levels of LH and T exhibited a positive relationship with marijuana use in addict boys. The non-smoking boys were 4 kg heavier and 4.6 inches taller than addict boys at the age of 20 years. Acute administration of marijuana induced significant increases in the salivary concentrations of cortisol. In conclusion, marijuana use may provoke stress responses resulting in stimulation of pubertal development and suppression of growth rate.
16 - 20 May 2015
European Society of Endocrinology