Gynecomastia is the excessive growth of breast gland tissue in males caused by hormonal imbalances. Specific diseases, drugs, natural supplements, and substances such as anabolic steroids, alcohol, and cannabis have been linked to this condition.
Throughout time, scientific studies have yielded findings about the link between marijuana and gynecomastia. Although there is no definitive link between the two, there might exist some correlation.
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia, the excessive growth of breast tissue, can occur at any stage of life. It can affect one or both breasts, causing an uneven appearance. While hormonal imbalances are associated with gynecomastia, there are cases where the cause is unknown.
Gynecomastia is often considered a harmless condition. Many cases resolve without medical intervention. It is most prevalent during infancy, affecting 60% to 90% of infants. The prevalence is around 50% to 60% among adolescents and approximately 70% in men aged 50 to 69. Severe cases of gynecomastia may be linked to an underlying illness or the side effects of certain medications. Medications that can cause gynecomastia include :
Drugs for prostate cancer
ADHD medications containing amphetamines
When determining the cause of excessive breast tissue growth in males, doctors may investigate underlying diseases associated with gynecomastia, such as :
Tumors of the adrenal or pituitary glands.
Although gynecomastia is not life-threatening, it can impact mental health. Previous research on gynecomastia in adolescents revealed that patients experienced elevated levels of depression. Further studies indicated that surgical treatment for gynecomastia increased satisfaction levels.
Can Marijuana Use Cause Gynecomastia?
The connection between cannabis use and gynecomastia is not conclusive. Although there is evidence that suggests cannabis can cause gynecomastia in rats, there is no definitive evidence linking marijuana use to gynecomastia in humans. But, some research attempts to establish a link between cannabis use and low testosterone levels. The low testosterone level could lead to excessive growth of male breasts.
A study examining male infertility discovered that cannabis’s impact on estradiol is associated with hormonal imbalances in infertile men. Estradiol, the primary form of estrogen in men, plays a role in regulating libido, erectile function, and sperm production. The findings suggest that marijuana reduces estradiol and testosterone levels in males. On the other hand, the results from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that THC has the opposite effect. Regular marijuana consumers show a slight increase in testosterone levels compared to non-users.
Lack of Definitive Evidence in Humans
While the rat study offers some insights, it is crucial to examine the evidence specifically pertaining to human subjects. As of now, there is no definitive link established between marijuana use and gynecomastia in humans. Multiple studies have explored this relationship, but the results have been inconclusive. It is essential to approach the topic with caution and acknowledge the limitations of the available research.
The Influence of Dosage and Duration
The dosage and duration of marijuana use could potentially influence its impact on hormone levels and gynecomastia development. Long-term and heavy use of cannabis may have different effects compared to occasional or moderate use. More research is needed to understand the precise mechanisms and establish a conclusive link between marijuana use and gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia is a prevalent condition characterized by the excessive growth of breast tissue in males. It occurs due to an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone levels. This can be triggered by various factors such as natural processes like puberty, specific medications, or certain diseases.
Although animal studies show a potential association between marijuana and gynecomastia. But, there is insufficient conclusive evidence to support the same connection in humans. If you are a cannabis user and have concerns about gynecomastia, it is advisable to consult with your doctor. Your doctor can help you in devising an appropriate medical treatment plan.