There is a growing body of evidence that suggests men who smoke marijuana have a greater tendency towards developing breast tissue (gynaecomastia) than men who do not smoke.
The first scientific paper discussing the impact of THC on hormone systems was published way back in 1972 in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study found that cannabis has ‘widespread effects on multiple hormonal systems, including gonadal, adrenal, prolactin, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone regulation.’ Dysregulation of hormones in men can lead to an increase in oestrogen levels, which stimulates breast tissue growth.
It seems it is not that straightforward, however, with conflicting findings in subsequent studies. Cannabis advocates say there is nothing to the research without the scientific evidence to back the claims up, but that doesn’t mean there is no link. A trend has been noticed, but the exact nature of the associations needs further investigation.
It is known that smoking cannabis can lead to a drop in testosterone production for about 24 hours, with some men reporting feeling swelling and puffiness around the nipples after just one joint. Regular users may not have those sensations, but the effects may be seen elsewhere. Cannabis is understood to interfere with male fertility, so anyone trying to conceive may be advised to quit pot for at least six months prior to making their first attempts.
While cannabis and male hormone systems is a controversial topic, the gist of it is pretty simple: if you are worried about developing breast tissue or being unable to conceive, ditch the weed.
Some male teenagers are growing breast tissue at puberty, which is normal, but in some boys, it’s not disappearing, which isn’t normal. The reasons for this are unclear, but oestrogen excess is certainly to blame. The reason for the oestrogen excess needs further investigations.
There are over 90 drugs that have been linked to gynaecomastia, including antibiotics and antidepressants. Obese men are extra susceptible, as well as bodybuilders using anabolic steroids to beef up. Anyone self-administering testosterone or taking some hair-loss drugs that block testosterone are at risk of developing breast tissue.
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