Marijuana and Testosterone: The Effects of Frequent Cannabis Use on Hormones

This is not the first time I’m write about marijuana and testosterone. In fact, about 6 months ago I wrote a post showcasing all the studies about its effects on androgen production, but since some serial-stoners decided to spam the shit out of the article, claiming that I was promoting propaganda, I just got tired of that and removed the whole thing.

After the deletion of the original posts, I’ve received a ton of inquiries about the subject, which is why I’m finally rewriting the old article about weed and testosterone.

Here you go:

Weed and Testosterone Levels

Marijuana and testosterone levelsI don’t actively smoke weed myself, but I have nothing against pot, or against the people who use it.

Which is why I try to be as objective about the subject as I possibly can.

I’m sure most of you have already seen the alarming titles, such as: “Smoking pot causes man-boobs. Beware!” or the classics like “Marijuana using men are the worst lovers.”

I also know that a lot of bro’s at the gym like to claim that smoking pot would completely mess up your ability to gain muscle. When it comes to marijuana and testosterone, there is going to be a lot of crazy claims.

However, in my opinion, claims such as those above, are nothing more than fear of the unknown and unnecessary hysteria. There’s plenty of guys who have smoked weed for most of their lives, who don’t have man-boobs, and on top of that, some of the biggest guys in the bodybuilding scene are avid pot users.

Marijuana is just a goddamn herb. To claim that a single herb would be powerful enough to stop muscle growth, is beyond the scope of my understanding. It’s unlikely that you’d grow breasts by smoking it either.

Does this mean that marijuana is harmless for hormones? Well, not entirely I suppose:

The Research Behind Marijuana and Testosterone:
a) The claim that marijuana causes man-boobs, aka gynecomastia, has more than likely originated from these few in-vitro studies (study, study), where crude marijuana extract had estrogenic effects on isolated rodent cells. Now, if something acts like estrogen, it can definitely induce some man-breast growth… However, it’s important to note that the studies were done on isolated cells taken from rats, and the whole experiment was conducted inside test-tubes. On top of that the effects haven’t been seen in in-vivo studies (inside a living organism).

b) It has been noted in several notable studies that THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) can potentially be an endrocrine disruptor in humans and animals, since it blocks GnRH secretion from the hypothalamus, which eventually leads to lowered LH and FSH production and therefore also lower testosterone production. THC has also been shown to inhibit several testicular enzymes needed in testosterone production in-vitro (study, study, study, study, study, study). Although it’s worth mentioning that in all of the studies I’ve seen, the effects have been reversible.

c) As weird as it is, some studies have shown that cannabis does not lower testosterone levels (study, study), despite the fact that a pile of studies has already shown that it does. Albeit, these review studies do contain research which shows cannabis to suppress testosterone, the abstracts still cleverly state that “chronic marijuana use showed no significant effect on hormone concentrations in either men or women.”.

Conclusion on Marijuana and Testosterone

 So does marijuana lower testosterone levels or not? I believe it does, but with not such a magnitude that is often claimed.

Definitely not significantly enough enough to cause man-boobs or completely wipe off your gains in the gym, if that’s what you’re afraid of, don’t

And even if the testosterone lowering effects would be significant, it’s still reversible. One of the studies showed that 24 hours after smoking a joint, testosterone levels had returned back to pre-smoking levels.

Marijuana and Testosterone: The Effects of Frequent Cannabis Use on Hormones was last modified: July 13th, 2017 by Ali Kuoppala
Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance.
Ali Kuoppala
  • Manly Venusian Man. Really.

    Why does everyone that is neutral or with marijuana usage have to say “It’s just a herb”? Like holy fuck, NOBODY knew it’s a herb. It’s like constantly saying Hitler was a nazi, had a pencil stache or hated jews.

    Worse yet, it’s EXACTLY like constantly saying that you are not gay…BUT you SUPPORT gay rights.

    I just love how human language is used sometimes.

    Hmm, talking about gays, are there any studies that show a relationship between homosexuality and testosterone?

    • Probably because the claimed effects are often something that could not be achieved with even the strongest prescription drugs.

      I haven’t really looked into the topic of testosterone and homosexuality, but if I recall correctly, I’ve seen something about TRT being tested as a “cure” for gayness at some point.

      I would guess that homosexuality goes far beyond hormones though.

      • MisterE

        Yeah, I’m gay and on TRT, it just makes me extra horny

    • MisterE

      Seriously? There is a plethora of straight people who support gay rights (the President, the supreme court, Unitarian Universalist church, United Church of Christ, idk actually this is stupid because there are so many, and supporting gay rights implies nothing about one’s sexual orientation). You are ridiculously ignorant.

  • Alan

    I’d really like to see you post some articles on hemp products such as shelled seeds, hemp oil, and other hemp products and their effects on T.

    My thought would be that they would be bad because of their polyunsaturated fat levels but you being the expert it’d be great to get your point of view on it and if they really are good or bad for increasing T

    – Alan

  • isaac m

    I don’t think Marijuana will have effects on your gains in the gym unless your so stoned all the time you can’t keep up a good routine for health (exercise, diet, supplements).

  • Pedro Mendes de Araújo

    There are a lot of people around the internet who would pass off scientific data as “propaganda”. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Still, if you tell someone the truth and they say it’s “biased”, it doesn’t stop being the truth, doesn’t it?

  • Playing devils advocate, but what if someone ran a test to see if weed helped T-levels because of it’s stress relief properties it can have on some? Being stressed out surely can be negative and effect test, one would think. Well, what if you are incredible stressed and smoke a joint occasionally, relax right after and let the weight of the world off your chest. It might have a positive impact on T levels.

    Just food for thought to create some interesting conversations.

    • Karetha Palmer-Dellgrottaglia

      I know it’s much later, but if you look at the studies cited, the issue is that THC raises cortisol levels (same hormone released in response to stress). This is one of the reasons some people get paranoid and so on. This means you’re getting a double whammy of cortisol. Periodically, no big deal, but habitually, there may be cause for concern. Now, it also affects the pleasure sensor in your brain so you feel relaxed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your body is. Just like having a drink feels relaxing but that doesn’t mean that your brain/organs/etc are relaxing. It’s important to separate all of the different effects on the body so people can make informed decisions. There are some amazing benefits and some negative effects, but a lot of hype and propaganda on both sides often makes conversation difficult.

  • I sympathise with the first point in your article. The cannabis campaign is plagued with angry stoner evangelists who wage aggressive war on anyone who suggests any possibility of anything negative about cannabis use. They are in fact deeply damaging to the campaign and cause far more harm than good.

    Thanks for an interesting article.

    • No, i do not “wage war” on pretentious moron’s like yourself, who claim to have legitimate concern for cannabis legalization and it’s recreational, or medicinal consumption, because it’s supremely obvious that you don’t. The only people saying bad things about cannabis, or about the people who consume it, shouldn’t fucking matter, or at least their opinion’s shouldn’t, because it has absolutely no effect on their lives, and yes, bald pretentious idiots like you, anger me.

      Thanks for triggering me while i struggle with insomnia that i wouldn’t have, if i had cannabis, fuck you.

      • Astonishing to get your rude, ignorant, foul-mouthed response eight months after I left a polite and considered comment.

        Nothing more needs to be said because it is all too apparent from your own words. You are the enemy of reform and people like me are well used to having to clear up after your sort of behaviour.

        Go suck it up nutcase. karma will get you in the end.

        • Nutcases believe in karma, you regressive. Your comment was nothing but provocative, and stupid.

          • rusty

            Chillax mate, we know the law an ass in regards to weed! We need to keep fighting the government not each other! I hope you got some doobies with you tonight. 😉

          • We, or the public, doesn’t know shit about it, at least in Australia. The government actively funds misinformation campaigns while there no scientific studies to justify a campaign for, or against it. All we have, is anicdotal examples such as Colorado and dc, of a successful government regulated cannabis distribution scheme, that hasn’t resulted in the implosion of the workforce, or any considerable reduction in the mental health of it’s consumer base.

          • rusty

            Yes, I’ve seen the sloth ad and I think that will only encourage more to smoke weed! Its Very funny mate! I 100% agree with your points! I just think they think we are all idiots, but we do vote them into power so maybe they are right!!!! Free the weed.

          • Alex Latto

            you have to always consider incoming information brother. this guy brings up some good points especially as far as recreational use especially. i strongly agree that it should be the choice of the individual as well as medicinally legalized but it’s not necessarily beneficial to all recreational users who don’t rely on it

          • BL

            So was yours you fucking moron.

        • Moɹlp

          Yep you killed yourself at “karma”. Prove karma exist. Bye now “nutcase”.

      • John Doberman

        I gave you an upvote for making me laugh. 🙂

      • BL

        Lex people like you are the reason we as a community do not get taken seriously. Shut the fuck up and take your I’m triggered bullshit and piss loser.

      • Danny

        You just proved his point dumbass.

      • bob obviously

        Well that escalated quickly.

  • Nitin Reddy

    I was smoking an average of probably 2-3 joints daily for the past couple years. I’ve stopped for a week now and don’t see any return in libido or erections which have severely decreased since then, I’m 21. How long do you think it will take? Should I get my test levels checked now or wait a while? Is it even reversible?

    • itchy8me

      I have stopped recently and noticed a huge decrease in muscle mass, sex drive and appetite. All things related to low androgen levels.

      I have actually done this on multiple occasions, all with the same result. If i start again, my muscle tone increases , sex drive increases, and appetite increases.

    • David

      Hard to say exactly – there’s going to be both a physical and psychological adjustment period. I’m going to do the same thing. I typically only vape a little bit every night to relax and sleep, but I expect I’ll have trouble sleeping for a week plus I’ll feel extra warm (basically hot flashes) and be somewhat irritable.

      But this is the season where I usually ramp up my cardio for a big 150km+ bike fundraiser I do every June so I get more of those natural endocannabinoids which helps. Plus my winter semester just ended and I have a week before my summer practicum starts so now seems as good a time as any. It’s good to give your body a break now and then.

      How are you feeling now (~10 months)?

  • Jonathan D Saunders

    Thank you for the article.
    I am a chronic user but that does not mean I shut myself off to science. Just the opposite of course.
    I also appreciate your objectivity on the matter.

  • Sean

    I also wonder if its what you use it for. The stereotypical stoner is portrayed as a lazy, jobless, stupefied man who sits on a couch eating chips and watching television, while saying dude a lot. I would guarantee that that man’s t levels are much lower than the average. If one were to use it for exercise I imagine it would benefit them. It would probably be accurate to say that in most cases in makes them lazy weaklings.

  • Fitman1

    I had my T checked before I used cannabis oil for 3 months. I was using it to try and get some relief from burning neuropathy. Unfortunately no results. I had my T checked a few months after I discontinued use and it was down 40 points from the previous test and was below the level where the medical establishment will treat you for it. I don’t want the synthetic hormones and will try some herbs first or maybe an alternative doctor who specializes in bio identical hormones. Not saying the cannabis caused the lower number, just suspicious it could have.

    • MisterE

      40 points? That’s the entire drop? That’s nothing. That guideline of “normal” numbers is for people who are 70-80 years old, because they’re the most common people to take the test. If you’re in your 20s, you ought to be around 700ng/dL. I think the common “threshold” for TRT is like 250ng/dL. But if you’re not that old you were already low. Testosterone levels fluctuate depending on time of day, if you just exercised, and actually a ton of other variables.

  • rossm21uk .

    Personally I myself am a stoner. I love the weed, getting high is extremely relaxing and enjoyable. That being said I do not like pro cannabis activists who try and downplay it as “just a herb” or harmless or whatever. If you look at the big picture this herb produces an extremely powerful psychoactive drug. A drug that plays havoc with our neurotransmitters. Anything which is messing around with our brains chemicals is also more than likely affecting our hormones, so it would be foolish to think that living your day to day life imbalanced neurontransmitters and hormones is gonna be fine and dandy. No, imo it spells many mental and physical health issues. We are all for comparing the drug to alcohol and lambasting booze as evil and something which causes health issues and ruins lives. Well, when used sensibly and in moderation, no it doesn’t. Same with weed, however a lot of cannabis users think its fine to take it every day and night. Same as myself. Ive just commited to end my daily habit, and this is night number 3 without it, it feels like night 300 already. I can’t sleep, ive broke out in terrible bacne, My mood is all over the place. Its taken my 15 years to realise this drug is not as light and harmless as many make out. As an added point I have smoked right through the danger years of adolescence and I have shown development congruent with reduced T levels and which do not run in my family. Just speculation but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in fact my use of cannabis which caused it.

    • BL

      I got $500 bucks that you can not provide any scientific research from a credible source to back this line of bullshit. You have other health problems at play. Are you a doctor? Thought not, go see one. Low T? Every generation has been lower than the previous for generations, do your homework before making such ridiculous statements as blaming THC.

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  • Mike Borgia

    I am not against anyone who chooses to smoke marijuana, however I do know that any drug, whether it’s organic or synthetic that diverts brain function can be damaging to the rest of your body. I know that it helps cancer patients deal with pain and discomfort and under controlled doses helps many ailed people, but for healthy people and when used as recreational, can have adverse affects and lower Testosterone production. I have a friend dealing with that currently and it wasn’t until he reduced the amount of marijuana did his T levels go up. It wasn’t only that. He changed his diet, and increased his daily exercise. The human body is very complex. To say that a drug effects everyone the same would be false.

    • BL

      “It wasn’t only that. He changed his diet, and incr…” so with all those changes at once what you know is actually, wait for it, nothing. You can not even remotely make an argument that the marijuana was to blame when all those changes where made at once. “synthetic that diverts brain function can be damaging to the rest of your body”… provide your scientific proof to that statement regarding marijuana, I dare you.

  • Yakitarian

    Too objective, there is a non-blazed bias that is totally unlit, like unWoke bruh.

  • Richard Fontaine

    Hello everyone, I normally never write anything in these post things but I feel I need to share my experience with pot. I’ve been a pot smoker for about 15 or more years and if it wasn’t for pot I’d probably would have commited suicide by now…got off the pharmaceutical drugs and started smoking pot, it changed the way I thought about life and “fixed” my depression. That was about 10 years ago I’ve been smoking pot ever since. Over the years I have been having trouble sleeping and eating and having relationship problems, I have been off pot now for three days having withdrawal effects similar to when I quit drinking alot.. . I didn’t think this was possible with weed? Well it is. I don’t need science to figure that out, I don’t need science to figure out either that it was excellent for curing my Depression. I learned that weed is good for recreational use as long as your not a pothead. Good for medicine and long as you need it. My problem was determining when it was too much and I became addicted to it as much and more then drinking I found when I didn’t have it I was picking fights and acting like a moron. Now just in three days my sleep is great, I’m looking healthier, my mood is Getting better, and I have super energy that I never thought a 35 year old could have. Thank you weed for curing my Depression but I think it’s time for me to fly with my own wings. Not saying I’ll never smoke pot again …. Just need to learn that when too much is too much…just like any drug.

    • Marc

      Great comment.

  • Jason P

    I liked this article because it brought up a lot of points and articles I hadn’t considered or read, but you could have at least spell checked the article once.