The CDC reveals that up to 48.2 million individuals consume marijuana. Thanks to its increasing availability, the consumption of weed – both for recreational and medical purposes – has been on the rise. The National Library of Public Medicine reveals men use marijuana more than women. The highest rate of cannabis use is observed to be among males between the ages of 18-25.
With an increasing number of men smoking weed, it’s important to understand the long-term effects of this drug. As with everything, the use of marijuana comes it its devils and darlings. The side effects of this drug include gynecomastia, weight gain, issues with male fertility, and even erectile dysfunction. Here, we navigate a variety of studies to understand the link between smoking weed and low testosterone.
What is Testosterone, Exactly?
The National Library of Medicine defines testosterone as “the primary male hormone responsible for producing male sex characteristics.” It is responsible for regulating libido, production of sperm, body fat distribution, and bone mass. Symptoms of low testosterone levels in men include decreased libido, fatigue, an increase in body fat, and loss of muscle mass and bone density.
Does Weed Lower Testosterone?
There is a lot to discover regarding the possible side effects of cannabis in males. Some people claim weed to be a “natural aphrodisiac,” while others point out that weed causes erectile dysfunction and lower sperm count. The weed and low testosterone conundrum goes back decades, with several studies being published about the topic over the years.
“Yes, it lowers testosterone”
One breakthrough study was published by the New England Journal of Medicine in 1974. It drew a comparison between the testosterone levels of weed smokers and non-smokers. The participants were between 18 to 28 years old. The result found the average T-levels drop among cannabis smokers. The T-levels of those who didn’t smoke weed were almost twice that of the men who smoked weed. The study showed that smokers had a T-level of 416, while non-smokers had a T-level of 724.
Several studies conducted on animals reveal that THC lowers the production of testosterone. This, in turn, lowers the production of sperm, viability, and mobility in male animals. Another recent experiment performed on non-human primates added to what the previous clinical trials had proved: male primates experience lower sperm count, testosterone levels, and reduced testes size due to marijuana consumption.
Yet another study revealed how just one joint is enough to drop T-levels for one day or more. The researchers also observed that the T-levels drop whether or not you consume cannabis via a joint. In other words, the consumption of marijuana in any manner – through food or IV – caused a drop in T-levels.
“Marijuana has no effect at all”
In contrast, there have been trials that indicate no link between weed and a decline in testosterone production. Two of the most prominent ones include A 1989 clinical trial conducted on seventeen male volunteers and another 2017 survey conducted on 1,500 men. Both showed no noticeable difference between weed consumers and non-consumers.
Can Weed Cause Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia happens when a male body experiences imbalances between testosterone and estrogen. With more estrogen than testosterone, the male body begins to experience excessive breast tissue.
Gynecomastia is caused due to a variety of reasons. Some of them include hyperthyroidism, liver failure, and estrogen-stimulating medications like antidepressants. However, some studies also point out that cannabis could be one of the factors that stimulate estrogen.
One study, for instance, showed a link between cannabis usage with higher production of estrogen and low testosterone levels in men. However, there is no definitive explanation for such a link yet. One of many theories behind this link states that THC stunts the release of GnRH, which is responsible for the production of hormones like testosterone.
As with the link between weed and T-levels, the link between weed and gynecomastia requires additional studies.
Contact Asheville Detox Center
While weed may serve several medical purposes, it comes with an ocean of side effects, with low testosterone being one of the many prominent effects.
Regular use of weed not only causes severe side effects but also leads to addiction. This, in turn, can impact the individual’s overall well-being. If you or your loved one is currently struggling with weed dependence, it’s critical to seek help immediately. Weed dependence is not the solution if you’re trying to feel better.
Designed to help individuals detox from substances, including marijuana, Asheville Detox Center’s medical detox program helps them find ways to manage their dopamine system. Our holistic practice helps address the root cause of weed dependence and paves the path for a lasting recovery. With us, help is just a few taps away!