There has been chatter in the stoner and scientific community about weed and its effects on testosterone. We already know that weed can affect hormones. For example, weed increases dopamine for many people. Just in case you didn’t know, dopamine is the reason you feel pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. So, since we know that weed can affect hormones, what about testosterone? Does weed affect testosterone? Here’s what we know.
Does Smoking Weed Affect Testosterone?
Before we get into weed’s effects on testosterone, let’s chat about testosterone.
While testosterone is commonly believed to be a male hormone, people who are assigned female at birth also produce it. However, the amounts vary. According to Healthline, testosterone is produced by the testicles and ovaries. The testicles produce much more of the hormone than ovaries, though.
Healthline says testosterone affects:
- Sex drive
- Sperm production
- Bone mass
- Muscle mass
- Fat storage
- Red blood cell production
Now, let’s look at whether or not weed can affect this hormone. Based on some studies, it definitely can.
A 1974 study found that THC can lower testosterone. The study examined 20 men between 18-28 years old who used weed for six months and nothing else. The researchers found that men who used weed had significantly less testosterone than the control group. The control group consisted of men who didn’t use weed. The more THC is used, the lower the testosterone. Interestingly, when the participants abstained from weed, their testosterone levels increased.
A 2022 study tried to determine the dose-dependent effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exposure on male testes and reproductive health in rhesus macaques. Rhesus macaques are monkeys, by the way. So the study found that the more THC used, the lower the testosterone levels.
Why Does Weed Affect Testosterone?
To understand why weed affects testosterone, let’s look at another study.
A 1984 review also shows that THC seems to lower testosterone in animals.
This review offered a reason as to why THC seems to lower testosterone. It said, “The THC-induced block of GnRH release results in lowered LH and FSH which is responsible for reduced testosterone production by the Leydig cells of the testis.”
Let’s break this down a bit. GnRH stands for gonadotropin-releasing hormone. It controls the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary.
So, LH stimulates testosterone production from the interstitial cells of the testes, otherwise known as the Leydig cells.
However, since GnRH controls the release of LH and THC blocks GnRH, that results in less testosterone.
Does CBD Lower Testosterone?
According to CFAH, CBD affects hormones too. However, CBD doesn’t seem to affect testosterone directly. However, indirectly, it may boost testosterone levels.
CFAH says, “By reducing the amount of psychological stress a person experiences, CBD can help their body produce more testosterone and thus help to boost sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg.”
So, if CBD reduces your stress, it could potentially heighten testosterone and not reduce it. However, we’d be more interested in seeing some more research in this area.
How Do I Know My Testosterone Levels Are Low?
To find out if your testosterone levels are low, there are tests you can do. Healthline says you can do a blood test to determine your testosterone levels. If the testosterone levels are under 300 ng/dL, your doctor may want to find out why.
Healthline says, “Low testosterone levels could be a sign of pituitary gland problems.” In addition, some diseases, including AIDS and kidney disease, can cause low testosterone levels.
Healthline also said low testosterone levels could present as:
- Low libido
- Poor concentration
However, as said before, you’ll know by having a blood test.
How to Naturally Increase Testosterone
One way you can increase testosterone is through testosterone replacement therapy. Healthline says this therapy may be administered by gels, injections, or patches. However, low testosterone levels don’t always require this kind of treatment. People may opt for this treatment if their quality of life is affected by low levels of this hormone. Unfortunately, testosterone replacement therapy is not without side effects. Healthline says some side effects include decreased sperm production and oily skin.
Besides testosterone replacement therapy, there are some natural ways to boost testosterone. Healthline says you can increase your testosterone levels by:
- Getting enough sleep- Impaired sleep is linked to lower levels of testosterone. So, sleeping more than five hours but less than ten is ideal. We can’t give you an exact number since we all need different amounts of sleep. Therefore, you can figure out how much sleep you need and aim to achieve that every night.
- Exercising- Exercise is linked to higher testosterone levels. Weightlifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are great for boosting testosterone levels.
- Reduce stress- As we stated before, stress is associated with lower testosterone levels. Therefore, you may have a boost if you focus on reducing stress.
- Limiting alcohol intake- Healthline says testosterone levels drop 30 minutes after drinking. Therefore you can either avoid alcohol or limit how much you drink to keep your testosterone levels up.
- Eating certain foods- Healthline says consuming healthy fats such as avocado can boost testosterone levels. They posit that a diet of whole foods is better for you. Need ideas of precisely what to eat? Healthline says you can opt for the following
- Dark leafy vegetables
- Fatty fish
- Cocoa products
So, does weed affect testosterone? It might! Weed use is associated with lower levels of testosterone. If low levels of this hormone are affecting your quality of life, you can ask your doctor about treatment. In addition to that, you can do certain things to boost your testosterone levels naturally.