December 06, 2013
Marijuana And Man Boobs?

This story is too amusing not to pass on.

Gynecomastia is caused by a hormone imbalance between testosterone and estrogen.   When the ratio between testosterone and estrogen tips in favor of estrogen, the body responds by creating excessive breast tissue.  Hence, man boobs.

Animal studies have shown that exposure to the active ingredient in marijuana can result in a decrease in testosterone levels, a reduction of testicular size, and abnormalities in the form and function of sperm.

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.

So, concludes Dr. Anthony Youn, marijuana can cause man boobs, "probably".   (Along with, I note, some other rather disturbing effects, if you are a man, or married to a man and want to have children.)

Although I am passing this story on, I am not endorsing it, since I have not looked at the studies myself, and don't intend to spend weeks doing so.  The issue of marijuana use has become so politicized — both by those who favor greater use, and those who oppose it — that it is not easy to sort through even the scientific studies.   Or, to be blunt, to trust them, after you have sorted through them.  It's my impression that, on the whole, its dangers were exaggerated by the popular press decades ago, and are now minimized, or even denied.

For example, during the debate over marijuana legalization here in Washington state, there was very little discussion of any possible bad effects from marijuana use from our local journalists.

And that may be because so many of them are, or have been, users.  Some time ago I read a piece by a libertarian that noted that journalists almost all have used the weed.  He seemed to think that was an argument for more use, but, considering the quality of so much current journalism, I would say that it is, instead, evidence that people who want to think clearly should avoid smoking pot.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(In the past, journalists were reputed to be much more likely to be problem drinkers, even alcoholics, than the average person.  If so, it would be interesting to compare the the quality of the work they did to that of our current journalists, who may drink less, and smoke more marijuana.)

Posted by Jim Miller at December 06, 2013 07:16 AM | Email This