The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

Share this page with your friends

Bookmark and Share

Question

I am 19 years old and I am 5'6". Five years ago, I was 5'3"-5'4". I believe I entered puberty at a late age; I remember pubic hair starting to appear around age 12-13. Other guys around me have a major growth spurt growing around 4-8 inches in the course of two years around 14-16, but I have never had a significant growth spurt. From age 13 until now, I have probably grown no more than 3-4 inches. It's frustrating because I entered puberty late and never hit my growth spurt. I had quite a temper and I did smoke weed almost every day during ages 14-17 (I don't anymore) and I heard smoking weed reduces testosterone, while my mother tells me too much stress would stunt one's growth. My conjecture is that I missed my growth spurt. Other kids that I grew up with smoking had growth spurts, however. I was wondering if maybe I am a late bloomer? I've heard of other guys growing up to 6 inches during ages 18-23. I do recall my father, who is 5'6" saying he hit his growth spurt around 17-19, but he is not sure. My younger brother of two years is 5'8". He is very slim and I have always been the more athletic one of the two. I was wondering if I would grow any taller or if I seriously messed up my growth spurt by my short temper and engaging in relentless smoking during my adolescent years.


Answer

You reached puberty at a normal age. To reach stage 2 around age 12 is fairly typical. Not everyone has a drastic growth spurt. A growth spurt is defined to be anything above 2 inches per year. Likely you had one, but didn't notice because it was only just a bit more than your normal childhood growth.

Your short temper was due to your hormones amplifying your moods.

Smoking indirectly affects growth:

"Smoking will not affect the pituitary glands which produce the hormones necessary for growth, but however it does result in an increase in carbon monoxide in the blood. This then in turn means that the blood has a lower concentration of oxygen and of the other things that it needs to build and repair tissue such as minerals and vitamins. What this then means is that when an area needs protein or other nutrients to grow, it will not be supplied with them as quickly or in such high quantities and quality. This may then mean that that function of the body is not carried out at all, or just that it is not carried out well" [Elizabeth Danish, "Does Smoking Stunt Your Growth?" Health Guidance].

Marijuana smoking in this respect is no different from tobacco smoking. It is known to impact the growth of a child in the womb, so impacting teenage growth is not surprising. ["Pot smoking during pregnancy may stunt fetal growth," Reuters]. But marijuana actually causes more harm that tobacco on the body. "Marijuana is harmful to the entire respiratory system from the sinus cavities to the air sacs within the lungs. Marijuana smoke is more harmful than tobacco smoke, and users have a much higher incidence of respiratory disease than nonusers" ["Marijuana"].

In addition, marijuana is known to impact cell division which is critical during growth and development: "Marijuana and its potent chemical THC cause cell abnormalities, alter normal cell division, affect genetic make-up of new cells and lower cell immunity, increasing the possibility of viral infections among users" ["Marijuana"].

It also impacts testosterone. "Decreased masculinity. Use of marijuana results in lowered levels of the male hormone testosterone. This hormone is essential for the development and support of male secondary sexual characteristics such as hair growth, voice tone, and muscle distribution" ["Marijuana"].

How much smoking marijuana impacted you would be impossible to measure after the fact. You may have been genetically predisposed to being relatively short, but likely you did not reach your full potential height. Now that you've stopped smoking, will you catch back up? That is not likely. The body only has a limited time frame for growing.