Here's a chemical scare: marijuana will cause men to grow boobs. Unlike most chemical scares, this one is scientifically plausible and probably real, something CNN.com just wrote about. Will Victoria's Secret's business model now expand to include what "Victor" might need?
As I've written many times:
- People are woefully ignorant when it comes to evaluating relative chemical risks.
- Marijuana has been given a free pass because of decriminalization (1) and because it's "natural."
Put those two together and the results are, at the very least ironic, and quite possibly hilarious.
Perhaps even funnier is that ethically questionable anti-chemical environmental groups like NRDC and EWG, (2) which have the chemical acumen of tree snails, try mightily to convince you that the plastic liner of a can of soup will turn Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson into Scarlett Johansson while ignoring the fact that marijuana – possibly the main course at their board meeting – can actually do this (more or less). Tell me that this image hasn't crossed your mind...
NRDC board of directors meeting? Image: Steemit.com
Even "funnier" is that NRDC made a thoroughly repulsive film in which they equated chlorpyrifos, a slightly toxic insecticide, with Sarin, the deadly chemical weapon made by the Nazis during WWII (See: NRDC's Hitler-Pesticide Video Worthy Of Joseph Goebbels).
Shameless. NRDC used this image in their video about chlorpyrifos. #Sleazebags.
And, what left me shaking my head, NRDC used NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who knows nothing about chemistry as their "chemical expert" in the video! Kristof refuses to touch cash register receipts because they contain a little bisphenol-A (BPA) – a harmless chemical (See BPA Is Just As Dangerous As It Never Was) that is nonetheless portrayed as something that will end life as we know it. The knock on BPA is that (among other things) it is an estrogen mimic, hence an "endocrine disruptor," which will wreak havoc with male sexual development. It does no such thing.
But marijuana does.
A story from CNN, "Does smoking pot cause man boobs?" reports on something that I wrote about in 2016. Marijuana does indeed contain chemicals that interact strongly with estrogen receptors, so gynecomastia – breast growth in males – makes perfect sense. Some of the estrogenic effects of marijuana components are summarized in a paper entitled "Endocrine effects of marijuana in the male: preclinical studies." Here are some of the findings:
- "Marijuana affects a variety of hormones that are regulated by hypothalamic function and it appears that the psychoactive ingredient, THC, is the major compound responsible for this action."
- "THC appears to depress prolactin, thyroid gland function, and growth hormone while elevating adrenal cortical steroids."
- "[THC] causes reduced prostate and seminal vesicle weights, as well as altered testicular function... and changes in sperm production by the seminiferous tubules"
And another paper, "Recent Advances in the Mechanistic Understanding of Endocrine Disruption by Environmental Chemicals," adds the following:
- THC may disrupt the balanced relationship between ERα and ERβ via up-regulation up-regulation of the β type ER in normal cells."
- "THC can be accumulated up to 20-fold in some tissues (i.e., fat tissue) due to its highly lipophilic nature."
Back to CNN. Dr. Anthony Youn writes:
So can smoking pot really give you man boobs?
Probably. 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.
So for now, if you have moobs, it's probably best to put out that joint.
Once again, we have an example of "natural" chemical being perceived as safe while "synthetic" chemicals are dangerous. And once again, this is wrong.
I'm a firm believer that people should be able to what they want with their own bodies. But I'm also a firm believer that they should have the real facts at their disposal when they make this decision.
So, if you want to read real science ACSH.org is your place for one-stop-shopping. If you want to read science fiction I recommend Arthur C. Clarke or Ray Bradbury. If you want to read manipulative garbage feel free to visit NRDC. Maybe they'll even give you a complimentary doobie.
Just be prepared to alter your wardrobe if necessary.
They're spectacular! And they're real. Photo: YouTube
(1) My own opinion is that throwing people in jail for using marijuana is mega-stupid. But that does not mean that the drug is harmless, as is widely believed. It is not.
(2) NRDC is short for Natural Resources Defense Council. EWG is short for the Environmental Working Group. They don't like us very much. It is mutual.