Dude, if your rack is sweeter than ever, it might be time to retire your bong. It’s a bummer, but the whole man-boobs problem might be exacerbated by marijuana. Pot-head man boobs may just be munchie-related weight gain, but if they’re gynecomastia, they may be a little more sinister.
Man-boobs a.k.a. gynecomastia (if you’re a nerd) is a very real condition caused by a hormonal imbalance. When the balance between estrogen and testosterone leans toward estrogen, the bod creates excessive breast tissue. According to CNN, gynecomastia “ affects approximately 33% to 41% of men between the ages of 25 and 45.” and “60% of 14-year-old boys. Interestingly, it also affects 55% to 60% of men aged 50 and older.” Though it apparently can resolve itself on it’s own, the condition is distressing enough that in 2012, 23,000 bros went under the knife to correct the problem.
But what do man-boobs have to do with weed? Well, in animal studies, one of the active ingredients in marijuana caused a decrease in testosterone. When it comes to human stoners, we might need a little more information before declaring pot to be a miracle breast enhancer for men:
In humans, the effects of marijuana on testosterone and estrogen levels aren’t as clear. Lower testosterone levels have been reported in chronic marijuana users compared to nonusers, but not all studies support this.
Few studies have examined a direct causative effect between smoking marijuana and gynecomastia. A report in 1972 made the initial connection between cannabis and gynecomastia. This study is contrasted with a 1977 survey of U.S. Army soldiers which showed no association between smoking marijuana and gynecomastia. This study was limited, however, due to its very small sample size.
As pot smoking becomes less and less taboo and more and more legal, it may become easier for scientists to determine cannabis’s effects on human boobs with more precision. Until then, if your gynecomastia has you feeling more Velma than Shaggy, take a break from weed.