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Development of central precocious puberty following cannabinoid use for paediatric epilepsy: causal or coincidence?


Research suggests a role for cannabidiol oil in managing certain forms of paediatric onset epilepsy. However, studies on the impact of cannabis on the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis have conflicting results. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) acutely inhibits gonadotropin-releasing hormone in the hypothalamus, reducing testosterone levels by 65% in rhesus monkeys. Additionally, there have been reports of pubertal arrest and delayed puberty in male cannabis users. In contrast, other studies have reported higher testosterone levels following long-term cannabis use.

A 2-year-old boy presented with testicular enlargement, increased penile length and growth of coarse pubic hair developing over 6 months. His mother procured cannabidiol oil online, which he started taking 7 months earlier for severe epilepsy refractory to medical management. Subsequent investigations confirmed central precocious puberty. While it is unclear whether the precocious puberty is a direct consequence of HPG axis activation by Δ9-THC, this case demonstrates a temporal association between cannabis use and development of precocious puberty.

  • developmental paediatrocs
  • epilepsy and seizures
  • neuroendocrinology
  • endocrinology

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