(Article Medically Reviewed By Dr. Zach Hyde)
Does Weed Lower Male Hormones?
It would be the understatement of the decade to say that cannabis is enjoying a bit of a Renaissance right now.
Indeed, many states are starting to realize that this all-natural herb not only poses virtually no threat to people who use it but that it actually has a lot of benefits as well (in particular, tax benefits to those aforementioned states).
But can the same be said about cannabis and your testosterone levels?
We’ll look at this in detail in the article below.
Marijuana Can Impact Testosterone
(But Not in the Way You Think)
I need to preface this entire article by stating that I, personally, don’t use cannabis.
That said, I have no problem with people that do, and see the world’s happiest herb as just another example of how Mother Nature gives us many good things.
However, if you google “cannabis and testosterone levels,” you’ll be redirected to hundreds of articles claiming that THC (the active ingredient in weed)…
Can lead to everything from man-boobs and sexual dysfunction to impotence in men that use it regularly.
It’s enough to put a man on the bud bandwagon forever, but are these claims legit?
Unfortunately, the only honest answer is: “maybe.”
You see, when you talk about cannabis, you’re not just talking about the use of a drug, but an entire lifestyle.
On top of that, you’re talking about millions of guys who all use the drug in varying amounts, varying frequencies, and who react completely differently when the substance is in their system.
Smoking anything can narrow your blood vessels over time. This doesn’t just put your heart in jeopardy, but can reduce blood flow to your penis, leading to ED, impotence, and atrophy.
Moreover, lots of guys get the “munchies” when they use cannabis, which can cause them to binge on sugary foods that make them gain weight.
Nothing is going to contribute to “man boobs” like a pizza and a pack of Oreos a day.
And, as we know, diabetes and obesity are testosterone killers in their own right.
As far as evidence that the herb itself (and not the byproducts of using it) are the culprit in testosterone drop-off, you have to look at what the actual science says.
Studies on Marijuana and Testosterone Levels
There are two main studies cited by those who think that cannabis is some sort of kryptonite to your gonads.
Both involve an in-vitro application of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, and reported adverse effects on the endocrine and reproductive systems of rats when they are still little more than a clump of cells.
In both cases, “estrogenic” effects were observed.
This has given rise to the idea that, like tofu and soy milk, weed exposure can shrink your balls and give rise to any number of estrogen-related issues.
However, it’s important to remember that these were not human studies, nor were they performed on a living organism.
Now let’s get back to THC, the most important cannabinoid in terms of getting an actual reaction from the substance.
In this case, several studies have sought to determine whether or not THC acts as a potential endocrine disruptor.
In several cases, the substance was found to block GnRH secretion from the hypothalamus, which can reduce the production of Luteinizing and Follicle Simulation Hormones in your glands, lowering testosterone levels.
While other studies back this up, it’s worth noting that every single one indicates that this depression of T levels is both temporary and reversible.
But here’s the confusing part…
Other studies report that cannabis has no effect on testosterone or other hormone levels at all.
In one case, this was true even after “chronic” heavy use. So, at best guess, we can say that there’s a potential for testosterone to be affected by marijuana, but that the discussion remains an open one.
Marijuana and Testosterone What’s the Verdict?
In my opinion, if it looks, smells, and feels like it might reduce testosterone levels, why take the risk?
After all, with men over 35 already facing down lowered T levels due to age, weight gain, health problems, vascular damage, and toxin exposure, who needs one more roadblock on the path to healthy hormones?
That said, the risk seems rather low, with most studies reporting that any weed-induced effects on testosterone will return back to normal after 24 hours.
Of course, if your Cheeching and Chonging your way through life, that 24 hour recovery time doesn’t matter one bit, does it?
You’ll also be increasing your chances of weight gain, lethargy, and poor diet – all of which will have way more effect on your testosterone levels than the weed itself.
In short: as with all things, moderation is key.