There has been a lot of speculation on the topic of “the effects of smoking cannabis on testosterone levels” which will be covered in this article along with some of the scientific research which has been uncovered. More specifically, whether there is a correlation between smoking weed has and the development of gynecomastia (man boobs), the effect that smoking weed has on male health, testosterone levels and the analysis of the research.
The Relationship Between Marijuana and Gynecomastia
The link between smoking weed and gynecomastia aka man boobs was first brought into light in the 1970’s when a couple of studies suggested that THC has an estrogenic influence. What really brought this question to the spotlight was when an article was published in the CNN in 2013 by a cosmetic surgeon. The cosmetic surgeon who regularly performed gynecomastia surgeries took the case to investigate a plausible link between THC and gynecomastia.
So what’s the truth, does smoking weed actually cause gynecomastia? Well, the research is not so clear. A couple of test tube studies show that THC contains compounds that may affect estrogen receptors. When these same studies were carried over using an animal model, the estrogenic influence does not take place. The only human study on this topic was performed on US Army soldiers and in that study, researchers found no link between marijuana use and gynecomastia. Based on the analysis of the research presented thus far, while smoking weed may have a minor estrogenic influence, it’s not enough to make a drastic impact which would cause you to grow “man-boobs”.
The Impact of Smoking Weed/Marijuana on Male Health
When it comes to the effects that smoking weed has on testosterone, there are several studies which have been performed. Before diving into them, we will go over a concept known as “cherry-picking”. As is the case with the current state of human research on health and fitness where two people with completely opposing views will cherry-pick from scientific research to support their bias.
This point is exemplified by the research that has been performed on marijuana and testosterone because there is research that supports each of the three possible scenarios. 1) There is research that supports the fact that smoking weed decreases testosterone, 2) there is research that supports the fact that smoking weed increases testosterone, and 3) there is also research to support the fact that smoking weed has no effect on testosterone.
Based on available research it really comes down to anecdotal evidence and comes down to personal experience. In some cases smoking marijuana may increase cortisol which can cause them to get anxious and paranoid thus negatively affecting their testosterone levels. For others, it might help them relax and reduce their cortisol level. At the end of the day you have to figure out how weed affects you and that would probably determine how it affects your testosterone levels as well.
One point that is undeniable is the effects that smoking marijuana has on sperm. There has been a very long and robust study which was performed over four years on Danish men. In the study, 1,200 Danish men were going through compulsory medical examinations to determine their fitness for military service. Semen samples, blood samples, and fitness tests were all collected from these men who were split into three groups.
The first group had no use of cannabis, the second group had one or less use of cannabis per week, and the third group consumed cannabis three or more times of cannabis use per week. 40% of these men had smoked at least once over the past three months. When they looked at the entire sample size the men who smoked more than once per week actually had 28% lower sperm concentrations than the men who did not smoke. So if you are trying to have a kid then it’s probably not the best idea for you to be blazing up on the regular.
Although the weed in itself is not causing the decrease, the activities that come after smoking weed may decrease your testosterone levels.