According to studies performed by the National Institute of Health, recent studies have shown a link between THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, and the development of enlarged male breast tissue. This is because THC lowers testosterone levels. When a man’s testosterone level is lower than his level of estrogen, the breast tissue begins to grow. Low testosterone can also lead to low sex drive, a reduction in sperm count, and erectile dysfunction. Exposure to THC from consistent marijuana use reduces the size of the testicles and also may cause sperm abnormalities. Using marijuana frequently during the teenage years has also been shown to delay puberty, a situation that occurs in over 60 percent of teenage boys.
Gynecomastia, commonly known enlarged male breast tissue, is a condition that affects one-third to one-half of men between the ages of 25 and 45 in the United States. Gynecomastia is a condition that is often embarrassing for many men. It is also often very frustrating as well because many of its sufferers are not sure why or how they have developed the condition, or how to get rid of it.
What causes gynecomastia?
There are several causes of gynecomastia, including hormonal changes, the use of some medications, and health conditions like hypogonadism, also known as low testosterone that triggers breast development. There is another potential cause of gynecomastia that is under the microscope – exposure to THC, the main chemical compound of marijuana.
Formal studies on THC and gynecomastia have not been performed in humans, but research performed on animals has indeed shown a link between the compound and a decrease in testosterone, reduction in testicle size and sperm abnormalities in animals. Additionally, physicians in states where marijuana has been legalized have heard more complaints about gynecomastia in their male patients than in the years before the states legalized the drug.
Does Marijuana Cause Gynecomastia?
Johnson uses SmartLipo in combination Vibro/Tickle Lipo, to remove unwanted breast tissue in his male patients. SmartLipo targets unwanted fat through the use of ultrasound, liquefying fat and melting it away. The Vibro/Tickle part of the combination makes the procedure more comfortable and helps to break down stubborn fat tissue. Using both types of liposuction in combination also facilitates skin tightening and improves the patient’s results.
Like many of the medications listed above, marijuana can act as an estrogen stimulator. Various preclinical studies have found that marijuana use can both increase estrogen production in men and decrease testosterone production which may lead to gynecomastia. The exact reason for this is not yet known. One theory is that THC, the psychoactive component of weed, blocks the release of GnRH, which is a hormone that triggers the production of other hormones, including testosterone.
Gynecomastia is caused by a hormone imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. When the ratio between testosterone and estrogen skews in favour of estrogen, the male body responds by creating excessive breast tissue – commonly referred to as “man boobs”.
Besides those instances where gynecomastia may occur as part of the body’s natural changes throughout a man’s life, the condition may also be caused by certain illnesses and medications, including: hyperthyroidism, tumours, anabolic steroids, kidney failure, malnutrition, liver failure, chemotherapy, heart medications, and antidepressants.
Animal studies have shown that exposure to the active ingredient THC in marijuana can result in a decrease in testosterone levels, abnormalities in the form and function of sperm, and a reduction of testicular size. Nevertheless, it is still unclear as to how exactly marijuana and smoking weed affects hormone levels in humans, but there is significant anecdotal evidence to suggest that regular marijuana users have lower testosterone levels than non-users and that heavy doses of the drug may delay the onset of puberty in young men.
Although the association between marijuana and gynecomastia hasn’t been conclusively proven, it appears very plausible.