Its small sample size limited the study itself, and there are plans to carry out a larger-scale trial in the future. The authors also intend to investigate whether these genetic changes are reversible and study the effects on the offspring of marijuana users by analyzing blood from newborn babies’ umbilical cords.
Current research suggests that smoking cannabis affects sperm in notable ways. Firstly, it could reduce sperm count and affect morphology.
Duke University Medical Center Study
A 2018 study conducted at Duke University Medical Center has found that regular marijuana use is associated with changes in the genetic profile of sperm. This research is timely, as cannabis legalization is now spreading at an exponential rate.
Apart from being important for healthy development, the endocannabinoid system also plays a crucial role in the functioning of sperm. A 2009 study by Francavilla and colleagues explains how the ECS affects sperm function. The authors state that human spermatozoa “exhibit a completely functional endocannabinoid system related to AEA” (i.e., the endocannabinoid anandamide).
The study, carried out by researchers Kollins et al., published in Epigenetics, looked at the effects of THC exposure in rats and 24 human subjects. First, they noted that cannabis users (humans) had lower sperm counts than non-users.
Research suggests that marijuana can negatively affect female fertility in the following ways:
Quitting marijuana can be harder than many long-term marijuana users expect, so you and your partner would be wise to quit as soon as possible, while you still have time to get help before getting pregnant. If either or both parents still use marijuana when the baby arrives, you are increasing the risk that your child may use drugs in the future, and parental drug use is implicated in many difficulties for children and families.
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Obviously, if you are both smoking marijuana, you risk increasing the chances of infertility as a couple.
Although the link between marijuana and fertility is not straightforward—plenty of marijuana smokers get pregnant and get their partners pregnant—some research has demonstrated that marijuana use can negatively impact you, your partner, or the fertility of both of you.
In women, marijuana is thought to prevent or delay ovulation—where the egg is released from the ovaries. A study of 201 women found that the bodies of the 29 participants who smoked the drug in the past three months seemed to put off ovulating for between 1.7 to 3.5 days on average.
Asked if there is a risk that as cannabis is decriminalized and legalized people will see it as safe and be less wary of the potential harms, Ian Hamilton of the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York recently told Newsweek: “There is a potential risk that these policy changes are perceived by young people and adults as signalling that cannabis is harmless.”
Smoking weed could affect fertility in both men and women, scientists have warned.
Other recent studies have also highlighted the potential health risks associated with using the drug. A study published in April found that people who regularly use cannabis need a 220 percent higher dose of sedatives during medical procedures.
Evidence suggests the psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant— tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—activates cannabinoid receptors in a system in the body which includes the internal reproductive organs, explained scientists who presented existing studies on potential harm caused by the drug in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.