Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The pros and cons of marijuana use have been flying around the medical community for decades. While the debate on whether the good outweighs the bad is far from over, one plastic surgeon’s claim may help some pot smokers put down that joint once and for all.
Dr. Anthony Youn, a Detroit-based plastic surgeon has written a special report for CNN on how smoking pot regularly could be causing men to grow boobs, a condition known as gynecomastia.
Youn, who is known for his memoir “In Stiches,” says animal studies have shown 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. However, in humans the effects of marijuana could also lead to man boobs, Youn says.
“So can smoking pot really give you man boobs?” Youn asked in the CNN report. “Probably. Although the association between marijuana and gynecomastia hasn’t been conclusively proven, it appears very plausible.”
Gynecomastia is a hormone imbalance between testosterone and estrogen, and when the ratio between these tips in favor of estrogen for men, the body responds by creating breast tissue. Youn said plastic surgeons routinely inquire of their gynecomastia patients about their marijuana use and recommend they stop smoking pot to help fix the condition.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), gynecomastia is the fifth-most common cosmetic surgery in men. The condition affects about 33 percent to 41 percent of men between the ages 25 and 45, and 60 percent of 14-year-old boys.
Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson, a board certified plastic surgeon in Columbus, Ohio, said many men do not even realize plastic surgery is an option to get rid of gynecomastia.
“A relatively simple procedure with hidden incisions can establish a more masculine physique. This helps men regain confidence on the beach, at the gym and in intimate situations,” Donaldson said in a statement in March, 2011.
During the surgery, a tiny incision is made within the hair of each armpit, where the doctor removes excess fat and skin with advanced liposuction techniques. Donaldson said downtime and recovery is minimal, and there is seldom much pain.
Youn pointed out with the laws changing on cannabis use in states like Colorado and Washington, man boobs could become a bigger problem.
“The legalization of marijuana in some states could make it easier for researchers to determine the exact effects of cannabis use on hormone levels, gynecomastia and other bodily functions,” Youn wrote in the report. “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.”
The plastic surgeon pointed out the number of men undergoing surgery for gynecomastia nationwide rose nearly 30 percent from 2011 to 2012.