Does smoking pot cause man boobs? - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Does smoking pot cause man boobs?

Posted:
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Man boobs" result from a hormone imbalance between estrogen and testosterone
  • Animal studies have shown marijuana ingredients can affect testosterone
  • A link between the condition and marijuana use appears plausible

By Dr. Anthony Youn

CNN Contributor


Editor's note: Dr. Anthony Youn is a plastic surgeon in metro Detroit. He is the author of "In Stitches," a humorous memoir about growing up Asian-American and becoming a doctor.

A young man in his 20s -- let's call him George -- sits across from me in the exam room.

"Dr. Youn," he says, "I have man boobs."

I notice a not-so-unfamiliar smell wafting from his body. It's the same odor that floated my way during a rock concert I recently attended.

"How long have you had a problem with this, George?"

"Hard to say. But it seems to have gotten worse over the past year or so."

"George, the first thing you need to do is stop smoking pot. Marijuana could be causing your man boobs."

Gynecomastia, otherwise known as man boobs (or moobs for short), is a condition that affects approximately 33% to 41% of men between the ages of 25 and 45. It's even more common during puberty, affecting 60% of 14-year-old boys. Interestingly, it also affects 55% to 60% of men aged 50 and older.

Although most cases of gynecomastia resolve spontaneously within a few months to a few years, in 2012 nearly 23,000 people underwent surgery to correct the condition. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), it was the fifth-most common cosmetic surgery in men.

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.

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.

The legalization of marijuana in some state could make it easier for researchers to determine the exact effects of cannabis use on hormone levels, gynecomastia and other bodily functions. If a true link between smoking pot and gynecomastia does exist, then we should expect to see a spike in gynecomastia treatments in those states which have legalized marijuana.

Interestingly, according to ASAPS, the number of men undergoing surgery for gynecomastia nationwide rose nearly 30% from 2011 to 2012.

So can smoking pot really give you man boobs?

Probably. Although the association between marijuana and gynecomastia hasn't been conclusively proven, it appears very plausible. For this reason, the majority of plastic surgeons I've consulted with routinely inquire with their gynecomastia patients about cannabis use and recommend they stop smoking pot immediately.

So for now, if you have moobs, it's probably best to put out that joint.
   
 The-CNN-Wire
 ™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
 

  • Military Matters: Fleet and Family Support Services

    Military Matters: Fleet and Family Support Services

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:56:14 GMT
    It's a program designed to help support our military members and their families on a variety of areas of their lives. It's called the Fleet and Family Support Center, and it can be found at both NAS Corpus Christi and NAS Kingsville. From making dollars and sense of their finances, to working through PTSD and stress management, Fleet and Family Services is there to help with a variety of topics, and not just for active duty military but also their families, and even veterans. The services a...More >>
    It's a program designed to help support our military members and their families on a variety of areas of their lives. It's called the Fleet and Family Support Center, and it can be found at both NAS Corpus Christi and NAS Kingsville. From making dollars and sense of their finances, to working through PTSD and stress management, Fleet and Family Services is there to help with a variety of topics, and not just for active duty military but also their families, and even veterans. The services a...More >>
  • 20,000 Eggs Rain Down from the Sky During Egg Hunt

    20,000 Eggs Rain Down from the Sky During Egg Hunt

    Sunday, April 20 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-04-21 02:00:13 GMT
    Now here's one unique way to hunt for Easter eggs! 20,000 eggs were dropped from a helicopter Sunday by one special visitor. The Easter Bunny making that special delivery today from a helicopter up above. All of the fun happening at the Church of Hope in Calallen Sunday morning. There was fun for the whole family and it was a great turnout, with more than 300 people on hand. This was the first year the church has used a helicopter to drop all of the eggs. Along with the Easter egg hunt, the...More >>
    Now here's one unique way to hunt for Easter eggs! 20,000 eggs were dropped from a helicopter Sunday by one special visitor. The Easter Bunny making that special delivery today from a helicopter up above. All of the fun happening at the Church of Hope in Calallen Sunday morning. There was fun for the whole family and it was a great turnout, with more than 300 people on hand. This was the first year the church has used a helicopter to drop all of the eggs. Along with the Easter egg hunt, the...More >>
  • Recognizing the Behind the Scene Heroes of Emergency Response Calls

    Recognizing the Behind the Scene Heroes of Emergency Response Calls

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:00 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:00:13 GMT
    All week long, we have been celebrating the heroes who are behind the scenes when it comes to emergency response. We're talking about all of the 9-1-1 dispatchers. Today we caught up with the DPS dispatchers who are spending their Easter weekend answering your emergency calls. The DPS operators are on duty 24 hours a day seven days a week and get this, they serve 18 counties in the South Texas area. Not only do they help dispatch State Troopers for DPS, but they also help Texas Parks and Wil...More >>
    All week long, we have been celebrating the heroes who are behind the scenes when it comes to emergency response. We're talking about all of the 9-1-1 dispatchers. Today we caught up with the DPS dispatchers who are spending their Easter weekend answering your emergency calls. The DPS operators are on duty 24 hours a day seven days a week and get this, they serve 18 counties in the South Texas area. Not only do they help dispatch State Troopers for DPS, but they also help Texas Parks and Wil...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KIII. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.