The Truth About Fertility And Smoking Marijuana
By Chris Barry
Although there’s still no definitive answer to the question of whether marijuana users have more difficulty trying to conceive, much of the research has suggested smoking cannabis does have a negative impact on the fertility of both men and women.
Cannabis and Female Fertility
The impact marijuana has on a person accumulates as the years go on, suggesting that by the time a cannabis-using teenager reaches her mid-twenties, one potential result of her reduced libido could be a further delay in her engaging in regular sexual intercourse and starting a family.
Fertility decreases for women who only smoke marijuana occasionally as well, as it increases the risk of abnormal ovulation, even when marijuana has only been absorbed in low levels over the previous year.
Using marijuana heightens the risk of miscarriage because it crosses the placenta, although It’s important to note that the impact of marijuana in relation to the womb still needs more study and hasn’t been nearly as well documented as alcohol.
While female are often the ones who garner the blame for failed pregnancies, men can also play a role. Relaxation is one of the most common reasons why men smoke marijuana. Unfortunately, research has revealed marijuana has a negative impact on the sexual response of males, having been shown to increase incidents of impotence. This not only hurts the male ego but obviously interferes with the ability of a couple to engage in sexual relations.
Marijuana has also shown to interfere with the ability of a man to ejaculate. Marijuana negatively impacts sperm production by decreasing sperm count. A man who smokes marijuana often has an abnormal activity pattern. His sperm becomes hyperactive and runs out of energy before it can penetrate the egg. Under normal circumstances sperm moves slowly so it can conserve energy.
The Research Factor
Researchers have lately started conducting more studies regarding the impact marijuana has on the reproductive health of both women and men. These studies have typically indicated that cannabis decreases a man’s testosterone production and by extension, his sperm count.
Additional research has shown that when women smoke marijuana it lowers the production levels of important hormones, leading to irregularities in menstruation and ovulation. As such, a couple who regularly smokes marijuana should have a much harder time conceiving than a couple who abstains from cannabis use.
One study conducted at the School of Medicine at Boston University, however, has shown different results. This major study concluded the exact opposite, that there was no increase in infertility issues for couples who smoke marijuana.
The study’s participants were comprised of 4,194 North American females aged between 21 and 45. 1,125 of their male partners were also surveyed. The first study measured the reproduction rate of couples who smoked marijuana over the period they were trying to conceive.
Fourteen percent of the males and twelve percent of the females stating they smoked marijuana did not show any increase in infertility. According to the lead author of the study, research conducted in the past showed couples trying conceive while smoking marijuana had an increased risk for infertility. The researchers then looked for stable couples trying to get pregnant and enrolled them in the PRESTO or pregnancy internet survey at Boston University.
These couples were not using birth control or experiencing any issues getting pregnant. The study authors did not specifically search for marijuana users, but knew they would be included in the general population. These individuals were identified in a questionnaire, which also asked about caffeine use, household income, body mass index, etc. This was used to control numerous factors.
The number of cannabis users participating in the study turned out to be higher in comparison than the national average of the United States. Of the couples studied, 95 percent were able to conceive.
This rate stayed consistent with no significant variation between the couples who did and did not smoke marijuana. Neither was the rate of pregnancy affected by how often one or both partners smoked marijuana.
This research is being deemed important as more and more states in the US are legalizing marijuana, an evolution that some expect will significantly increase the use of cannabis.
Despite most studies to this point only reflecting one side of the story, Marijuana is only starting to be recognized for its medical benefits. Who’s to say that in the next 10 years the research won’t find positives.
Cannabis and Fertility: The Final Hit
While there are clear relations between smoking in general and infertility or endangering a pregnancy, CBD cannabis oils and balms are yet to come into the equation. The best option is to consult your doctor prior to ingesting THC or CBD (or applying them topically). If you are trying to boost or maintain healthy fertility but are an avid weed smoker, there are ways to adapt a THC free lifestyle.