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Does Smoking Marijuana Cause Man Boobs?

By: Dr. Christopher Khorsandi


Smoking marijuana has long been a controversial topic. While its benefits for cancer patients and those with glaucoma and chronic pain have been well-documented, it can also have many adverse effects. One of the most troublesome is the supposed link of smoking pot with male breast development, or what’s known as man boobs.

Gynecomastia in Pot Smokers

Affecting about 40% of men 25-45 and 60% of men over 50, the development of excess chest tissue occurs when there is a hormone imbalance between estrogen and testosterone. When more estrogen is present in a man, the result is excessive breast tissue. While some cases are worse than others, some studies show a direct link between smoking pot and developing “man boobs.” While animal studies have linked smoking marijuana to decreased levels of testosterone, sperm abnormalities and small testicular size, human studies have produced mixed results. However, as far back as 1972 human studies indicated a link between “man boobs” and marijuana usage.

For men who develop an enlarged chest, a gynecomastic plastic surgery is a viable option. Two types of surgeries exist depending on the extent of gynecomastia. For small to moderate breast development Ultrasonic Liposuction is the procedure of choice. Similar to tumescent liposuction, the surgeon makes a small incision in the breast and then uses suction to remove the excess fatty tissue. The ultrasonic liposuction device is especially helpful because it helps to break up stubborn fibrous fat that is typically found in the male chest. For patients with large male breasts and those who have ptosis (sagging) of the breast tissue then surgical excision is usually required. The incision is usually made around the nipple to conceal the scar and may sometimes require removal of excess skin. Healing time varies from patient to patient depending on the amount of tissue removed and the techniques used. Conducted on an outpatient basis, most patients can resume normal activities within one to two weeks.

Other Health Effects of Marijuana

Other common effects marijuana may have on one’s body include damage to the lungs and other organs. The respiratory system is usually the most adversely affected, with many pot smokers frequently suffering from chest colds, emphysema, asthma, chronic cough, and bronchitis. While the best way to treat and eliminate these conditions is to quit smoking pot or anything else, there are other treatments available depending upon how much damage has already been done. These can range from anti-inflammatory medications that offer temporary relief from symptoms to oxygen therapy, which seeks to increase oxygen levels in the blood. For those who have suffered extreme respiratory damage, transplants of the lungs, heart, liver or other major organs may be needed. As most doctors state, the best way to make sure these conditions do not develop is to not expose one’s body to the toxins and carcinogens found in smoke. So for those smoking marijuana, a choice must be made regarding the pros and cons of its usage.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.