Cannabis is a complex botanical compound made up of several cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, each of which has distinct effects at various concentrations (biphasic effects). The main topic of discussion when it comes to children is THC-rich cannabis and how it affects a child's brain growth. However, not all cannabinoids are as psychoactive or as likely to affect the brain as THC.
There are undoubtedly concerns that THC use during a person's youth and adolescence may affect the brain's structure and/or development. This is because of the endocannabinoid system's (ECS) importance to brain development. Including phytocannabinoids during this critical time may have an effect on future personality, learning behavior, and focus.
Cannabis is not just THC in low doses. It also has medical benefits. Cannabis can help with chronic pain since it has a much better safety profile than antipsychotics or opioids, especially for young children. With an appropriate dose, certain children with diseases like autism or cancer might benefit from THC.
Compared to benzodiazepine-based sedatives, CBD is highly well tolerated by the human body and has significantly fewer side-effects. Although the full story of CBD and its long-term consequences is still unknown, studies showed that it will have a much less drastic influence on a child's brain than benzodiazepines.
The Impact of Marijuana on Growth and Development
Rats and other animals are used as the main sources of evidence regarding cannabis' effects on growth. An increasing number of human studies show that early exposure to THC-rich cannabis can lead to long-term, possibly even irreversible, negative alterations in the brain.
Additionally, there is some evidence to support the idea that ingesting THC-rich cannabis during pregnancy may affect the newborn kid. There is limited information available in this field because it can be challenging to examine the effects of particular medications on pregnant women as there will be more variables to take into account than usual.
Which Drugs Stunt Growth?
Some several medications and drugs could slow down a child's growth. Here is the list:
Corticosteroids: According to recent research, children who have long-term exposure to inhaled and intranasal corticosteroids may experience stunted growth.
Chemotherapy Drugs: Growth can be slowed down by chemotherapy drugs. The difference in growth rate is typically temporary when chemo is administered alone, without radiation. After treatment, many children eventually catch up to a normal growth pattern. However, some chemotherapy medications have more long-lasting effects when administered in high doses.
Antiepileptic Drugs (AEDs): Long-term AED use, particularly VPA, may put patients at risk for growth and bone disorders.
Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) Analogs: In patients with central precocious puberty, gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog (GnRHa) therapy suppresses the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and decreases estradiol secretion. As a result, it slows down the rapid bone development process, preventing growth potential.
These are some drugs that can affect growth if consumed in excessive dosage.
Does Weed Affect Growth Hormones?
According to studies, teenagers who used marijuana every day for three years were more likely to develop brain abnormalities and have poor long-term memory. Other research has demonstrated a link between teenage marijuana usage and excessive daytime sleepiness.
A recent study found that marijuana usage can cause earlier puberty in boys, it may also hinder growth. Males who smoked marijuana were around four inches shorter than nonusers by the time they were 20 years old.
The team's research included measurements of cortisol, a stress hormone. The levels of cortisol in the teens who used marijuana were much greater. Researchers think that marijuana causes stress reactions that retard growth and cause early puberty.
If You Stop Smoking Weed Will You Gain Height?
Researchers at Pakistan's Pir Mehr Ali Shah Agriculture University in Rawalpindi examined the levels of specific hormones related to growth and puberty in the blood of 220 boys who did not smoke marijuana and 217 boys who did. The testosterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in marijuana smokers were higher than in non-smokers. However, growth hormone levels were lower in this group. Additionally, it was discovered that at the age of 20, guys who did not smoke marijuana were typically 4 kg and 4.6 inches taller than those who did.
Does Weed Stunt Maturity?
Kuei Y. Tseng is a developmental neuroscientist who is frequently asked to give public lectures. Tseng is being requested by parents, educators, law police, and teens to inform them about a contentious topic: how cannabis impacts the development of the adolescent brain.
Tseng, based at the University of Illinois in Chicago, studies how rats react to THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. He discovered that exposure to THC or comparable compounds during a particular period of adolescence delays the prefrontal cortex's (PFC) maturation, which is a part of the brain involved in complex behavior and decision-making.
CBD and Growth
CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical compound. It has grown in prominence and is frequently employed to treat a variety of medical ailments because of its possible therapeutic benefits. There is little scientific evidence to support claims that CBD directly impacts growth or significantly affects a person's height.
CBD may indirectly affect growth by treating ailments or symptoms that can be negative to growth. For example, if CBD reduces pain or inflammation, it can enhance a person's general well-being, thus promoting healthy growth. Any impact on growth would be secondary to its therapeutic effects.
Does CBD Stunt Growth?
Since CBD does not result in intoxication, it is seen as being safer and more tolerant than THC. Its effects and safe use require more study. CBD has been utilized as a medication for epilepsy in children but data is unclear on its effects on children.
The growth hormone effects of CBD have only been examined in one study. According to the study, growth hormone levels did not drop after consuming CBD.
Marijuana, Puberty, and Development
According to data from animal studies and little evidence from human studies, the use of cannabis by teens may have an impact on pubertal development and growth spurt.
The main psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis is Delta 9 THC. Animal studies are one of the only models with sufficient clinical data to shed light on the possible effects of cannabis usage on pediatric endocrine and metabolic health.
When given to animals, Delta 9 THC causes gonadal dysfunction and a delay in sexual maturity. For example, female rats ingesting Delta 9 THC had fewer eggs on the first day of estrus than the control group.
Preclinical reports on the significant effects of prolonged Delta 9 THC exposure on puberty may help guide human trials. The daily doses given to mice in these trials ranged from 4 mg/kg to as low as 0.001 mg/kg, which is significant because they are comparable to the human exposure values of 0.1 to 3.9 mg/kg for Delta 9 THC.
Future research should take into account the physical health impacts of exposure, as well as the dosage and frequency of pubertal development, as everyday cannabis usage among children has steadily increased.
The research concluded that cannabis use can impact pubertal development. There were two reports in this study. Both of them showed delayed puberty and reduced growth spurt in cannabis users.
Does Smoking Affect Puberty?
The researchers found that marijuana use not only stunted boys' growth but also triggered the onset of early puberty. The authors of the study also stated that early puberty has been associated with increased substance usage.
When marijuana is smoked during adolescence, the areas of the brain that govern attention, learning, and memory have fewer neuronal fibers. Additionally, several studies have demonstrated that even if marijuana usage is later stopped, IQ may still significantly fall in adolescence and may not recover in maturity.
Do Edibles Stunt Your Growth?
If consumed often during adolescence, cannabis edibles, like other kinds of cannabis usage, could affect growth. However the evidence is not yet clear. The effects can differ depending on the person.
Possible Ways Cannabis Can Impact Development
Cannabis usage can interfere with teenage and young adult brain development, affecting learning, memory, coordination, reaction time, and judgment. The use of marijuana in excess and regularly has been linked to hallucinations, paranoia, and a variety of emotional issues.
In other studies, marijuana use has also been associated with IQ reductions, particularly when usage begins in youth and progresses to persistent cannabis use disorder throughout adulthood.
The results of various factors, including genetics, family environment, age of first use, frequency of use, having a cannabis use disorder, duration of use, and duration of the study, can affect the findings of such studies, and it is challenging to prove that marijuana causes a decline in IQ. However, not all studies on the relationship between marijuana and IQ have come to the same conclusion.
Cannabis affects how the brain develops. The developing brains of babies, children, and teenagers are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Studies indicate that marijuana use by mothers during pregnancy may be associated with issues with attention, memory, problem-solving abilities, and behavior in their offspring.
The way the brain forms connections for processes like attention, memory, and learning may be impacted by marijuana use before the age of 18.
Marijuana may have long-lasting or even permanent effects on learning, memory, and attention, but additional study is required to completely understand these effects. Marijuana usage among teenagers is associated with academic performance problems and possible memory loss.
Some people might ask whether marijuana reduces height or increases it. A recent study found that marijuana use may impair growth and hasten the onset of puberty in males.
There is no scientific proof that marijuana prevents people from growing taller. During the growing years, a variety of environmental and dietary factors as well as genetic factors influence height.
Usage of marijuana during adolescence may indirectly affect height when the body is still experiencing major growth and development. This could potentially have an impact on a variety of aspects, including appetite, sleep patterns, and hormone balance, which could then indirectly impair general growth and development.
Continuous munching has long been linked to marijuana usage. It is well-known that marijuana use makes people more hungry, a condition known as "the munchies." People frequently believe that chronic marijuana usage results in weight gain because of this munchies effect.
This concept has recently been examined by several researchers, and the findings are interesting.
According to a 2011 TIME magazine article that surveyed 52,000 adults, 25% of nonsmokers and 17% of marijuana users were obese. Some people have proposed the theory that marijuana satisfies one's appetite by activating the brain's pleasure center in the same way that food does.
However, a 2014 study published in the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience discovered that people who routinely consume more marijuana (e.g., smoking two or three joints) consumed more calories than others who smoke less or none at all.
Surprisingly, in this survey, marijuana smokers had a lower average body mass index (BMI) than nonsmokers. In the end, the study was inconclusive, necessitating further investigation.
How Cannabis Can Improve Quality of Life for Young People
Cannabis may enhance certain young people's quality of life by relieving pain, lowering anxiety and tension, promoting sleep, increasing appetite, enhancing creativity and relaxation, helping with specific medical problems, and strengthening connections with others.
Cannabis usage also contains significant hazards, such as cognitive impairments, addiction, mental health difficulties, and legal repercussions. As a result, responsible, informed use is essential. Making educated judgments about cannabis use requires seeking the advice of a healthcare professional and following the local laws and regulations.
Medical marijuana has the potential to treat a variety of health issues, including those that young people face.
More study is required, but conducting clinical trials involving the administration of psychoactive drugs to teenagers might be challenging. This means that for now, we must rely on animal studies, investigations of people who have already used cannabis, real-world evidence (RWE), and the few clinical studies in which children are the main participants.
So, does smoking weed stunt your growth in height? Although more research is needed, using marijuana during adolescence will not directly affect your height growth.
It’s always better to seek professional advice. Contact us to get in touch with our professionals to learn more about the relationship between marijuana and growth.