Will the increased labors people have gone through to legalize the usage of medical marijuana also known as cannabis or THC contribute to the increase in the incidences of low testosterone and gynecomastia associated conditions?
Let us assume that there will be a greater availability to medical marijuana or THC which would then lead to an increase in its usage among groups that are more susceptible or at risk. Some doctors assume that the direct answer to that question would most likely be, yes.
Anthony Young an MD and a plastic surgeon from Detroit said in a column for CNN Health that “Although the association between medical marijuana and gynecomastia hasn’t been concretely proven, it seems very possible.
Because of this, most plastic surgeons I have discussed with regularly ask their patients of gynecomastia about their cannabis usage and encourage that they immediately stop smoking pot.”
Conflicting research on this has caused uncertainty by doctors such as Anthony Youn and many others.
Some studies on this were conducted. And they have found that the regular usage of marijuana has directly contributed to the decrease of testosterone which then leads to other medical problems like weight gain and infertility. Other conditions as per this research have been found to have no impact.
In April 1974 a team of authors which included the famous researcher on sex, William H. Masters published a piece of work that was cited a lot in the New England Journal of Medicine. Studies and research on this subject have dated back to at least four decades.
There was a dramatic difference in the hormone levels conducted in the study. The study included a control group and 20 marijuana users who were carefully selected. The plasma testosterone of the 20 cannabis smokers between the ages of 18 up to 28 was 416 ± 34 ng per 100ml.
While the control groups of age-matched men with a mean of 742 ± 29 ng per 100ml. The researchers for the study also noted that the quantity of marijuana that was smoked directly connected negatively and strongly to their testosterone levels.
In that same year, the Journal also published a different study from another group of researchers which was led by Jack H. Mendelson, MD. They found no link or connection between the level of marijuana or cannabis usage and the respondent’s testosterone levels.
Within the 27 marijuana or cannabis smokers in that study which was conducted within a three-week period, has shown no statistical and significant changes in their plasma testosterone levels during the conduction or time period of the study.
Their testosterone levels were compared to their baselines pre-smoking levels and no changes were observed.
The mean pre-use level of 15 respondents who were heavy marijuana or cannabis smokers was higher with 1115 ±69 ng per 100ml compared to the other 12 casual marijuana smokers or THC users which were 988 ±93 ng per 100ml.
After 40 years from the initial studies that were conducted by more than one group of researchers, more studies have been conducted but there has been very little information provided to add more clarity to this, at least within humans.
Research on animals has shown that THC or cannabis, which is the active ingredient in marijuana, does lower their level of testosterone. The research done on animals has also shown that THC or marijuana creates an imbalance of both testosterone and estrogen levels within the animal host.
Gregory Buford and MD plastic surgeon from Denver has reservations about the effects of legalizing medical marijuana despite all the possible benefits to his business in breast-reduction.
He said “Estrogen dominance within males has clearly been shown to increase the possible risk of medical events like cardiac arrest, stroke, and even early death. The risks to this far outweigh the issue of man boobs.”
The difficulties of performing research and trials on an illegal substance have caused a failure in reaching a definitive and concrete conclusion on whether medical marijuana or cannabis has any direct effects on human’s testosterone levels.
Medical professionals are expecting to see better research and trials that can provide more clarity and guidance on furthering the regularization of medical marijuana as the drug slowly moves towards legalization.
Gregory Buford further states that “I hope that the medical professions will start looking more into the potential connection between the frequent usage of marijuana on estrogen and testosterone levels for us to determine just how concerned we should really be.”
However, there was information that was published in the World Journal of Urology that states that men who consumed marijuana in the past year had an increased amount of testosterone levels compared to non-users of cannabis and or marijuana.
A group of researchers from several universities like the University of Miami, University of Chicago and the John Hopkins University assessed and evaluated the connection or link between the usage of cannabis in the past year and their testosterone levels in contingent to their self-reported consumption of marijuana.
The researchers said that “Men who reported smoking marijuana or THC in the past year on an average had a higher level of testosterone when compared to those who did not report using THC.” Those respondents who reported consuming marijuana two or three times in a month possessed large differences when compared to non-users of cannabis.
The differences continued and remained even after the research was modified for other factors such as tobacco usage, race, alcohol, levels of exercise, age, and body mass index or most commonly known as BMI.
They concluded that this analysis or evaluation of a national representation cohort has implied that there is a dependent dose of THC or cannabis that can and does directly impact testosterone and or T levels.
The future possible research and work using specified doses of THC or cannabis and its studies explaining the mechanism of the connection or association are needed to validate these findings and studies.