The devil’s lettuce is a scientific enigma. This controversial breed of leafy green has been regulated since the 1600s, moving through various states of legality. Marijuana has been the subject of many bogus claims, but science hasn’t been able to study it in-depth until recently. Some claim that weed can cure complex psychological trauma, while others blame it for lasting brain damage. Yet the side effects of pot are only now being explored in any real depth. The most recent findings suggest smoking weed might be shrinking testicles and causing men to grow breasts! Research into marijuana’s effects on hormones is turning up some shocking findings. Here’s the scoop on what weed could be doing to your boobs (and/or your balls).

Has smoking weed ever messed with your hormones? Share your stories in the comments!

Doobies and boobies. In a recent CNN article, Dr. Anthony Youn proposed that smoking weed can actually cause men to grow breasts. Animal studies have linked THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, with altering testosterone and estrogen levels.

Weed is messing with your hormones. Man boobs, also known as gynecomastia, result from higher levels of estrogen in the body. The research shows that test animals experienced reduced sperm count and testicle size. Other research has linked pot smoking with erectile dysfunction.

Results not typical. Switched levels of testosterone and estrogen can decrease body hair, slow the metabolism causing fat to build up, and diminish muscle. Basically, if Dr. Youn’s findings are correct, your joint could be changing your gender.

Smoking through puberty is problematic. While shifting hormone levels don’t have a lasting effect on post-pubescent males, younger men are at greater risk for unwanted results. Plastic surgeon Steven Goldman claims smoking weed through puberty could permanently alter hormones in young boys.

Hm, those seem new. Man boobs are a common problem for men of all ages, with the highest incidence in pubescent boys and men who are 50 and older. In some cases the changes resolved themselves spontaneously, but many men opt for surgery. In 2012, breast reduction was the fifth most common cosmetic surgery for men.

Testosterone levels fall naturally. If you think your love of smoking weed might cause a slow gender transition, make sure you’re not just aging. After age 30, a man’s testosterone levels drop at about one percent per year. The disease hypogonadism, in which testicles or pituitary gland are unable to produce the hormone, could also be at fault.

A distraught man sits on the steps of an office building.

Man boobs abound. If you think THC is the only drug capable of making your breasts grow, think again. Over 90 drugs have been linked with the phenomenon, including antidepressants, antibiotics, and ulcer, heart and HIV medication. So don’t immediately blame Mary Jane.

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Other effects of decreased testosterone. It’s well-known that testosterone is linked with aggression, competitiveness and self-esteem. In other words, smoking weed could make men less violent, but it could also negatively impact their self confidence.

You can have your cake and eat it too. If not smoking weed is out of the question, there is another solution that will reverse the hormonal effects of THC. Testosterone therapy is a popular method of replacing the hormone through injection. It’s not without risks, however, and injecting your testosterone could have the same side effects as smoking weed.

Slow science. Scientists have been studying the relationship between weed and hormones for decades. The first scientific study on the subject was published in 1972. Research was stalled for years because of weed’s classification as a narcotic.

Waiting for legalization. Dr. Youn argues that marijuana’s illegal status is stalling scientists from making conclusive scientific progress. If the relationship between weed and hormones is real, then male breast reduction surgeries should be expected to increase in states where the drug is legal.

Marijuana is a sex drug, right? If marijuana is truly a testosterone inhibitor, then it probably wouldn’t be so heavily used as an aphrodisiac. Since the 1980’s many studies have found that marijuana increases libido. Pot smoking is heaviest amongst teenagers, who are supposedly at their “sexual peak”.

Or maybe it’s all in your head. Other studies seem to show that extended use of the drug can cripple the libido. THC is proven to lower levels of prolactin, which causes sexual arousal. Theoretically, weed may be a turn-off.

For Peace

Weed affects other hormones, too. THC raises cortisol levels, which can cause panic and paranoia. Some people claim that smoking weed cures their panic attacks, while others find that it exacerbates them. THC affects people in many (strange) ways.

 

The truth is still out there. Studies of male marijuana users have shown decreased testosterone levels in some cases, but not across the board. While a link between THC and hormone imbalance is possible, it’s not yet fully proven. Smoke as always at your own risk.

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