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Marijuana Use Puts Men At Risk of "Moobs", Plastic Surgeon

Update Date: Dec 06, 2013 01:53 PM EST

Smoking weed may put men at risk of developing "man boobs", according to plastic surgeons.

Writing in a post on CNN, Detroit-based plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn claims that marijuana can lead to "gynecomastia" because the drug lowers testosterone levels in men. Gynecomastia is the development of excess breast tissue, and can lead to abnormally large breasts in males.

"Gynecomastia is caused by a hormone imbalance between testosterone and estrogen," Youn explained. "When the ratio between testosterone and estrogen tips in favor of estrogen, the body responds by creating excessive breast tissue. Hence, man boobs."

Youn said that gynecomastia affects around 33 to 41 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 44, up to 60 percent of teenage boys and 55 to 60 percent of men over the age of 50.

While most cases of "man boobs" or "moobs" resolve themselves, Youn claims that the removal of extra breast tissue is now the fifth most common plastic surgery procedure for men in the United States.

Previous studies in animals revealed that marijuana use led to a "decrease in testosterone levels, a reduction of testicular size and abnormalities in...sperm," according to Youn.

While the effects of marijuana use on hormone levels in humans are still unclear, there is some evidence that people who use marijuana have lower testosterone levels than those who abstain from the drug. Other findings suggest that heavy marijuana use can delay the onset of puberty in young men.

"Although the association between marijuana and gynecomastia hasn't been conclusively proven, it appears very plausible. For this reason, the majority of plastic surgeons I've consulted with routinely inquire with their gynecomastia patients about cannabis use and recommend they stop smoking pot immediately," Youn wrote.

"So for now, if you have moobs, it's probably best to put out that joint," he concluded.

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