There is something wonderful about cannabis.
Marijuana, if you will.
In this newsletter, I want to explore some of these positive benefits of marijuana.
Some of the good things about marijuana help men with gut problems and inflammatory conditions.
And we’ll also cover whether or not marijuana is estrogenic.
Does marijuana affect male reproduction, fertility, or potency?
We’ll look at each of these questions.
Our first stop is going to be to discuss people self-medicating with cannabis to help them with bowel problems,
Specifically, we’ll look at using it to cope with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
There are these so-called “receptors” in the gut.
They’re called endocannabinoid receptors.
Endocannabinoid receptors work to regulate pain, appetite, mood, and memory.
These receptors are designed for being up regulated or down regulated.
Cannabis can down-regulate these receptors.
The marijuana helps to lower inflammation with this down-regulation.
In simple terms, cannabis is anti-inflammatory.
Many patients perceived benefit from using cannabis to reduce pain and/or diarrhoea because the drug has a direct antiinflammatory effect on intestinal tissue.
Cannabis seems anti-inflammatory in many regards, not just for the bowel.
In another study, people who are using cannabis for Crohn’s disease found relief.
Medication for Crohn’s disease is notoriously full of side effects.
The downside was that marijuana users were more likely to need surgery that non-marijuana users who had Crohn’s disease.
This could be the result of the tar, carbon monoxide, or other by-products of smoking cannabis.
One of the benefits of today’s explosion in legalized marijuana is that you can get cannabis in other forms.
You can get it in chocolate bars, or in vaping juices.
These are less likely to be dangerous in the way that smoking marijuana is.
There is no tar and no carbon monoxide when you eat a chocolate bar.
This was a small study, but it was a randomized controlled study.
So it is a great example of starting small with quality findings.
Researchers had some people using marijuana.
Then they had some people not using it and instead using a placebo.
And then researchers determined any clinical effects they could observe on Crohn’s disease amongst the participants.
They looked at any differences between the people who were taking marijuana and the people who used a placebo.
A short course (8 weeks) of THC-rich cannabis produced significant clinical, steroid-free benefits to 10 out of 11 patients with active Crohn’s disease, compared with placebo, without side effects.
This is a huge benefit because these were patients were mostly taking dangerous steroids.
Now they could get off the steroids entirely, thanks to cannabis.
There are other benefits to cannabis too, but there’s not enough room in this newsletter for them all.
But some people might have concerns about possible negative effects.
For example, cannabis has a reputation for being estrogenic.
Is cannabis estrogenic?
Our final stop in today’s newsletter will be to see whether or not cannabis can hurt male hormones.
The message here is rather mixed.
It seems that cannabis lowers testosterone levels.
But, it does not raise estrogen and does not cause gynecomastia (man boobs).
This is a decent little study out of Nigeria.
Researchers looked a the effect of heavy marijuana and cigarette smoking on testosterone.
They found that those who smoke a lot had much lower testosterone levels than non-smokers did.
The common bond here was that the study was smoking versus non-smoking.
I’d like to see a quality study on consuming marijuana versus smoking it.
A good study would look at if vaping or eating cannabis has less effect on testosterone levels.
It could be that the carbon monoxide and noxious byproducts of combustion in smoking responsible for lowering testosterone levels.
So, it doesn’t look like marijuana is estrogenic.
But, it definitely could reduce certain “masculinity markers,” including shrinking testicles.
So I wouldn’t consider using marijuana for male health.
Reductions in testicular size have been observed in rodents and dogs with administration of cannabis extract.
Degeneration of the seminiferous tubules may provide an explanation for this observation and is dose dependent, with lower doses showing no appreciable effect.
It turns out that marijuana acts like progesterone in men.
Progesterone can be helpful to men in small quantities because progesterone is extremely powerful against estrogen.
And marijuana seems to behave in the same way in the male body.
Too much marijuana, just like too much progesterone causes issues.
It can even cause the penis to shrink… at least temporarily.
Now, this is with extreme use.
I’m not sure if a lot of people have observed that effect, but shrinking testicles have certainly been observed clinically.
The good news is, marijuana is not estrogenic.
The bad news is, it may reduce your testosterone and reduce your drive.
That said, there are many uses for marijuana medically.
And I believe that there is a tremendous opportunity for cannabis treatment against cancer, Parkinsons, even perhaps against diabetes.
Cannabis Use Provides Symptom Relief in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease but Is Associated with Worse Disease Prognosis in Patients with Crohn's Disease
Cannabis Induces a Clinical Response in Patients With Crohn's Disease: A Prospective Placebo-Controlled Study
Serum testosterone levels in Nigerian male marijuana and cigarette smokers
Endocrine Effects of Marijuana