Endocrine Effects of Marijuana

Endocrine Effects of Marijuana

Todd T. Brown, MD, and Adrian S. Dobs, MD, MHS

Introduccion
 
In the late 1960s, the dramatic increase in the casual use of marijuana raised questions about its potential adverse effects on health. In 1972, Harmon and Aliapoulios1 provided the first report of marijuana’s clinical impact on the endocrine system with the initial description of marijuana-associated gynecomastia.

Further investigation has demonstrated that marijuana and its active component, ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have widespread effects on multiple hormonal systems, including gonadal, adrenal, prolactin, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone regulation in experimental models. In addition, the effects on the neuroendocrine mechanism of feeding are being delineated. Many of these acute effects, however, are transient as tolerance likely develops, and the long-term impact of marijuana smoking on the endocrine systems in humans remains unclear. This review will outline the effects of cannabinoids on the various hormonal systems both in animals and in man and evaluate the evidence of possible clinical consequences on the endocrine system with marijuana use.
 
 
From the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. Address for reprints: Adrian S. Dobs, MD,MHS, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University