Will marijuana destroy my muscle mass?

Around middle age, many men try to go to the gym to shrink their bulging bowels and get back in shape. It happens to a lot of us. The years creep in while we’re out there busy making a living and helping raise families.

All of a sudden we’re fat and 40 years old, our chests have sunk in, and everyone calls us chicken thighs when we walk around in shorts. Forget what the internet tells you. Dad Bod is not there. The only people who find a mushy body attractive are those who are out of shape.

The good news is that all a man needs to do is determine his diet and devote some time to cardio and weight training to get back into fighting shape. You can’t turn back the clock, but you can turn it up again. In fact, many fitness-conscious men claim to be in the best shape of their lives by their middle age. Just look at 48-year-old Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for more evidence. However, it takes a lot of work to get to this point. After all, an older man’s body just doesn’t respond as well as it did when he was 20. Therefore, men, especially older ones, need to be careful not to do anything that could destroy their profits.

Photo by Brodie Vissers on Burst

Now that marijuana is so widespread in the United States, it stands to reason that more fitness-minded people will try it. Some athletes swear that it makes exercise more productive, others use it as part of their recovery process (to fight inflammation), and others just do it because it’s fun, relaxing, and not associated with the mega-calorie count of alcoholic beverages. This is another thing older men need to look out for when trying to get back in shape. Alcohol can make it difficult for a man to work out his optimal body.

Aside from the nibbles – a side effect that turns the average man (and woman) into voracious, taco-crushing animals – marijuana doesn’t have any well-documented drawbacks that make it difficult to keep fitness goals on track. Just make sure to fill the fridge with plenty of fruit and healthier snacks when the nibbles show up. Otherwise, marijuana can contain as many calories as alcohol. Pro tip: don’t keep junk food around the house.

WorkoutsPhoto thoroughly reviewed by Flickr user

Still, men in their forties face their own mortality, and that can mean lower levels of testosterone – a male sex hormone made in the testicles and adrenal glands. As men get older, testosterone levels can drop, making it difficult for them to gain lean muscle mass, maintain bone density, and create a chiseled body. Avoiding things like alcohol and fatty foods can help keep testosterone in check. So heavy weights can be lifted. However, there is some research that suggests that smoking marijuana could damage testosterone levels.

But can the herb, which has therapeutic properties, really sabotage a man’s entire muscle mass?

RELATED: New Study Confirms Cannabis Users Are Not Lazy Stoners After All

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology says it could: “Cannabinoid administration acutely alters several endocrine systems, including suppression of gonadal steroids, growth hormone, prolactin and thyroid hormone, and activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis,” the researchers wrote. This means that marijuana users may have a more difficult time maintaining the levels of testosterone it takes to tear up. However, the researchers admit that “the effects on humans were inconsistent,” and they believe that “tolerance” may even play a role.

fitnessPhoto by Greg Roebuck

Other studies have shown that heavy marijuana use can lead to a dramatic decrease in testosterone, while some have shown that it doesn’t. One study even shows that testosterone levels decrease after smoking weed, but that level seems to return to normal after 24 hours. All in all, the negative effects of marijuana on testosterone remain a mystery. Still, a man is more likely to affect his testosterone production from a junk food diet (sugar) and sedentary lifestyle rather than smoking a little weed.

RELATED: Smoking marijuana before exercise can increase exercise productivity

Regardless of whether cannabis use is a factor, any man in his forties trying to get back in shape should see his doctor and have his testosterone levels checked. There are many replacement therapies available for men with low-T. However, it is important that you speak clearly with your doctor about marijuana use, as their treatment may need to be changed to accommodate this variable. Chances are they don’t mind at all.

If you are concerned about marijuana destroying your profits, don’t. With the right focus on real food and a consistent exercise regimen, your body should respond positively, with or without a pot.

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