Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pot Smoking Males May Grow Breasts

The Legend:  Men who smoke a lot of marijuana may grow breasts.

Status:  False

  • Smoking marijuana will reduce a man's testosterone levels.
  • Smoking marijuana will reduce sperm count.

Where did this information come from?  Back in the olden days, before we had such resources as chat rooms and message boards, one of the ways for people to share ideas was by writing letters to newspapers and magazines. That way many people would see their letters and could respond.

This is just what happened in this case. Two anecdotal case history letters to reputable medical journals, a 1972 letter to the New England Journal of Medicine (Harmon, 1972) and a 1980 letter to the Journal of Pediatrics (Copeland, 1980) discussed patients who were young males with breast enlargement or delayed puberty who were also marijuana smokers. The intent of the letter was to see if other doctors had seen this pattern. Instead, the story that "smoking pot grows breasts" began and has floated around for 30 years.

Breast enlargement caused by marijuana smoking has never been confirmed through research. If a marijuana user grows breasts it is likely a result of inactivity and a high calorie diet.