Does Marijuana Lower Testosterone? The Interaction Between Weed and Testosterone

does weed affect testosterone
By Anthony Pellegrino Updated March 8th

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Testosterone is a hormone that plays a crucial role in various aspects of human health, including sexual development, muscle mass, and overall well-being. However, a complicated history and relationship exist between cannabis, testosterone, and reproductive health. Unfortunately, the topic is often misunderstood and shrouded in myths and misconceptions.

Many people wonder if using medical marijuana can affect testosterone, either positively or negatively. It’s a valid question, considering how important testosterone is for healthy functioning.

Researchers are only just beginning to untangle the complex relationship between weed and testosterone. While the research is still limited, there are enough clues into how using cannabis can affect testosterone and male reproductive health to help cannabis users make an informed decision on what’s best for their personal well-being.

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What is Testosterone?

Testosterone, often hailed as the quintessential male hormone, is a critical player in the intricate tapestry of human physiology. It belongs to a class of hormones called androgens and is primarily produced in the testes in males and, to a lesser extent, in females' ovaries and adrenal glands.

In the body, testosterone serves a multitude of vital functions. One of its primary roles is to regulate sexual development and reproduction. During puberty, testosterone promotes the growth of facial and body hair, deepens the voice, and contributes to the development of the male reproductive organs. In adulthood, it continues to influence the maintenance of muscle mass, bone density, and red blood cell production.

However, testosterone's effects extend beyond the realm of reproduction and physical appearance. This hormone is pivotal in overall well-being, influencing mood, cognitive function, and energy levels, as well as contributing to a sense of vitality, drive, and motivation (often associated with the stereotypical notions of "masculinity").

While testosterone is closely tied to libido—the desire for sexual activity—it is not the sole determinant. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that libido and testosterone levels are strongly correlated.1 However, whether patient reports of reduced libido are reliable indicators of low T levels is open to question. Libido is a complex interplay of hormonal, psychological, and social factors, and its relationship with testosterone varies from person to person.

Understanding the multifaceted role of testosterone is crucial to appreciating its significance and unraveling its potential interactions with substances such as cannabis. 

Does Weed Affect Testosterone?

happy man jumping

The interaction between weed and testosterone has become a subject of scientific inquiry in recent years as medical marijuana use becomes more common.

Cannabis contains various compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes, which may contribute to its effects on the human body. With this in mind, when exploring the impact of weed on testosterone, researchers have examined specific components to shed light on their potential influence.

According to a 2017 study investigating marijuana use and serum testosterone concentrations among males in the United States, it was actually found that men with more recent marijuana use exhibited higher serum testosterone concentrations.2 In other words, the amount of testosterone found circulating in their blood increased after recent cannabis use. 

Yet, the researchers did state that additional studies are needed “to determine the extent to which circulating testosterone concentrations mediate the relationship of marijuana use to male reproductive outcomes."

These intriguing findings have been replicated by other studies. For instance, this study, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, explored the effect of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana, on testosterone levels among men in the United States. The findings indicated that THC use was "associated with small increases in testosterone." The observed increase appeared to decline with higher levels of THC use. However, even with regular use, testosterone levels remained more elevated among cannabis consumers than non-users. 

On the other hand, an older 1991 study investigating the effects of chronic cannabis use on hormone concentrations in men and women found no significant impact on testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, prolactin, or cortisol levels.3 This suggests that long-term cannabis use may not substantially affect these hormone concentrations, despite these previous findings. However, by extension, this also means that cannabis use may not negatively affect your hormone levels either.

Interestingly, a 2015 study examining the association between cannabis use and male reproductive hormones and semen quality revealed that cannabis smokers had higher testosterone levels than those observed in cigarette smokers.4 Of course, the rationale behind this study was to investigate potential fertility issues that may come alongside cannabis use. 

While low testosterone levels may lead to their fair share of problems, high testosterone can harm fertility.5 So, while this study did find that cannabis smokers had higher levels of testosterone, it also found that, "Smoking more than once per week was associated with a 28% lower sperm concentration...The combined use of marijuana more than once per week and other recreational drugs reduced the sperm concentration by 52% and total sperm count by 55%." 

Again, future research is necessary to validate these observations and better understand how THC impacts testosterone levels (and how that may affect a user’s fertility).

While the available research provides some insights into the relationship between weed and testosterone, it’s important not to forget how complex this interaction is. Hormones are pretty wild, and some renowned researchers, like Robert Sapolsky, dedicate their entire careers to their study. So, considering individual variability, dosage, duration of use, and the specific composition of cannabis products, outcomes of medical marijuana on testosterone may differ from person to person.

Does Medical Marijuana Lower Testosterone?

The question of whether or not cannabis use can lower testosterone has also attracted attention in the scientific and medical community. Low testosterone can cause dozens of health problems, such as decreased sex drive, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, reduced muscle mass, decreased bone density, mood swings, and potential fertility issues. So, it should come as no surprise that medical researchers are concerned about potential issues in this regard when it comes to cannabis. 

According to the previously cited 2017 study on serum testosterone levels, "Marijuana has previously been linked to reduced adult testosterone, however, a study in Denmark reported increased testosterone concentrations among marijuana users."6 So, based on current research it appears that cannabis does not lower testosterone levels–just the opposite, in fact. 

Nevertheless, research examining the direct effects of medical marijuana on testosterone levels is relatively limited, and the findings are not entirely consistent. 

It's always prudent with scientific research to consider the limitations and flaws in the available studies, especially before using such studies to draw any real-life conclusions. Many investigations have relied on self-reported data regarding cannabis use, which can be subject to recall bias and inaccuracies. Not only that, variations in study designs, sample sizes, participant demographics, and the specific cannabis products used can contribute to discrepancies in findings.

While many studies suggest that cannabis does not lower testosterone, this question deserves more scientific scrutiny. Low T can be serious, especially for older men.7 It may contribute to a litany of health problems (both physical and mental). Further research, with larger sample sizes, rigorous study designs, and standardized measures, is needed to provide more conclusive evidence and a deeper understanding of the potential impact of medical marijuana on testosterone levels.

Does Weed Increase Testosterone?

does weed affect testosterone

Certain studies have indicated a correlation between cannabis use and higher testosterone levels in some individuals. However, some of these studies may suffer from the same flaws as the ones investigating low T and cannabis. That is, they may rely on self-reported data regarding marijuana use, which can be a bit tricky. People can misremember crucial details or report with implicit biases that can skew the data. 

However, the primary area of concern here is centered around the inconsistent findings. Some of the studies report an increase in testosterone in cannabis users compared to non-users. Others report no significant effect on hormone levels. Additionally, some of the studies suggest that any such increase in testosterone may come at a cost to other aspects of reproductive health, such as sperm count. 

So, whether cannabis use can result in an increase in testosterone (and the potential benefits or risks of that impact) remain unclear. Testosterone is involved in various physiological processes, including sexual function, muscle growth, and mood regulation. An increase in testosterone levels may alter these systems. 

Still, the effects of increased testosterone can vary among individuals, and the potential risks and long-term consequences of raising testosterone levels through cannabis use require careful consideration.

One potential risk is hormonal imbalance. Disrupting the body's natural hormonal equilibrium by artificially increasing testosterone levels can lead to various health issues, including mood swings, aggression, sleep disturbances, and disruptions in reproductive and metabolic functions.

Furthermore, the long-term effects of increased testosterone levels from cannabis use remain uncertain. Given the remaining questions surrounding cannabis use and its impact on testosterone, it is crucial to conduct further research to better understand the potential risks and benefits associated with altered testosterone levels in the context of cannabis consumption.

Safety Tips for Using Cannabis 

If you're worried about the effects of cannabis use on your health, there are several safety tips and precautions you can keep in mind. Here are some recommendations:

Consider alternative methods of consumption.

Some forms of cannabis consumption may carry lower risks than others. For example, many consumers consider vaping or eating edibles to be safer alternatives than smoking or dabbing, as they reduce exposure to the harmful byproducts of combustion. Smoking anything, cannabis or otherwise, carries risks and could cause adverse effects on the lungs. However, the specific composition and quality of cannabis products can also influence their potential effects on your health.

Use moderation and avoid excessive consumption.

Using cannabis in moderation can help mitigate potential risks and unwanted side effects. Set personal limits and be mindful of your consumption patterns to ensure responsible use.

Consult with a healthcare professional.

If you have concerns about testosterone levels or reproductive health, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances and help you make informed decisions regarding cannabis use.

Be aware of underlying health conditions.

Certain medical conditions or hormonal imbalances may already affect testosterone levels. For people with pre-existing conditions that may be influenced by testosterone levels, it is crucial to consider the potential impact of cannabis use and discuss it with your healthcare provider.

Consider a temporary cannabis break.

In some cases, it may be necessary to temporarily stop using cannabis if you are concerned about testosterone levels. This could be relevant if you are undergoing hormone therapy or fertility treatments or if you and your healthcare provider determine that it is in your best interest to abstain from cannabis use temporarily. Always follow the guidance of your healthcare provider regarding the appropriate timing and duration of any temporary cessation.

The potential response to cannabis can vary from person to person and body to body. Therefore, listening to your body and making informed decisions regarding your health and well-being is essential to any productive cannabis use. 


1. Nguyen V, Leonard A, Hsieh TC. Testosterone and Sexual Desire: A Review of the Evidence. Androgens: Clinical Research and Therapeutics. 2022;3(1):85-90. doi:

2. Thistle JE, Graubard BI, Braunlin M, et al. Marijuana use and serum testosterone concentrations among U.S. males. Andrology. 2017;5(4):732-738. doi:

3. Block RI, Farinpour R, Schlechte JA. Effects of chronic marijuana use on testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin and cortisol in men and women. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 1991;28(2):121-128. doi:

4. Gundersen TD, Jørgensen N, Andersson AM, et al. Association Between Use of Marijuana and Male Reproductive Hormones and Semen Quality: A Study Among 1,215 Healthy Young Men. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2015;182(6):473-481. doi:

5. Patel AS, Leong JY, Ramos L, Ramasamy R. Testosterone Is a Contraceptive and Should Not Be Used in Men Who Desire Fertility. The World Journal of Men’s Health. 2019;37(1):45-54. doi:

6. Gundersen TD, Jørgensen N, Andersson AM, et al. Association Between Use of Marijuana and Male Reproductive Hormones and Semen Quality: A Study Among 1,215 Healthy Young Men. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2015;182(6):473-481. doi:

7. McBride JA, Carson CC 3rd, Coward RM. Testosterone deficiency in the aging male. Ther Adv Urol. 2016;8(1):47-60. doi:10.1177/1756287215612961

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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