I get a lot of questions about cannabis and if it would reduce testosterone levels in men. It’s actually one of the main questions that’s asked from me via email.
Which probably means that marijuana is far more casual in the U.S than it is here in Finland, because I personally know only few blazers, but according to my inbox, every third guy reading this blog has something to ask about weed and testosterone.
I don’t personally do marijuana in none of its forms, and that’s why I held back from writing this article in the first place, because I really can’t speak from experience.
I see marijuana as a drug, not in the same category as heroine or cocaine, but still as a drug. Sure it’s a herb and sure it is completely natural, but still it’s somewhat a natural drug.
However I can’t forget my readers, so eventually I did start my research on studies about cannabis and testosterone levels, I also found few studies that discussed about erectile quality, and even the brain.
This is the unbiased truth on the correlation of marijuana and testosterone:
THE SCIENCE BEHIND CANNABIS AND TESTOSTERONE LEVELS
But that’s because I don’t use marijuana myself, and probably because the government does very good work at conveying that image to general public.
We can’t forget the fact that many successful businessmen are smoking pot casually, not to mention all the professional athletes, and even some U.S policemen in their free time.
But the actual studies, what do they say about marijuana and testosterone?
- This review study which looked at tens of different studies found out that smoking marijuana did decrease testosterone levels quite significantly, and the levels stayed depressed for at least 24 hours. They also found out that it’s not only the smoke from that burning joint that caused these problems, but also the inhalable form of the active ingredient delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol dropped testosterone.
- Then this study found out that both follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and leutenizing hormone (LH) were decreased after smoking marijuana. Those are the precursor hormones of testosterone, so quite obviously if they’re suppressed so will be testosterone too. This is probably the reason why weed is linked to infertility as FSH is responsible for sperm production.
- The very same study also shows that weed increased the stress hormone cortisol, which is the principal enemy of testosterone. Quite weird actually as weed is linked to ultimate relaxation.
- This study found out that habitual marijuana usage decreased endolithial function in young males (endolithium is the superficial layer in your veins that’s responsible for strong erections). So that’s probably why chronic weed users often report erectile problems.
- Despite the fact that marijuana is a natural herb, according to this study it did cause just as much DNA and oxidative cell damage as smoking tobacco does, but after all tobacco is also somewhat “natural”.
- Weed is also addictive, and basically all kinds of addictions will decrease testosterone levels via “broken” brain dopamine receptors.
- However then there’s this study which found out that chronic marijuana users did not have low testosterone levels.
- This study found out that cannabis atrophies testicles in animals (dogs and male wistar rats).
- This study found out that certain compounds in cannabis can bind into the estrogen receptor and produce feminizing effects in vivo.
- This study (page 47) found out that 5mg’s of THC (principal ingredient in weed) dropped testosterone levels by 65% in male Rhesus monkeys. The suppression lasted for 3 full days.
- This huge report (page 48) found out that marijuana lowered GnRH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone) activity. GnRH is the hormone that hypothalamus secretes to the pituiary gland when it want’s the body to start the testosterone production process.
- Pot and its “estrogenic activity” is also highly linked to gynecomastia (man boobs).
- Heavy doses of marijuana in young age may also delay puberty, according to this study.
So the evidence for sure is inconclusive but it’s shifted much more towards the fact that cannabis most likely does decrease testosterone levels.
And even though marijuana is a natural herb, it’s estrogenic one and it does cause oxidative damage just like tobacco does.
Another question I get asked a lot is that if I think marijuana should be legalized?
My answer: Why not, from the health point of view alcohol has much more devastating effects for your health and hormones, and tobacco for sure is a ticket to hormonal hell, but they’re both legal.
By Ali Kuoppala