When examining miscarriages related to regular marijuana use, researchers found they typically happened within eight weeks of conception.
A new study suggests men intending to conceive a child with their partner should reconsider their marijuana use. Men who are frequent cannabis users are twice as likely to see their partner’s pregnancy end in a miscarriage, according to new data-driven research.
When examining miscarriages related to regular marijuana use, researchers found that miscarriages typically happened within eight weeks of conception, U.S. News & World Report first reported.
Other studies have shown that frequent marijuana use lowers sperm count and mobility of sperms in males. Alyssa Harlow, a doctoral student at Boston University and lead author on the study, suggested that her team’s research could demonstrate just how marijuana affects sperm’s DNA in a foundational manner.
“We would expect that the sperm was healthy enough to fertilize an egg, but any damage to the sperm might result in early pregnancy loss,” Harlow said.
Research gathered data from 1,400 couples across the United States and Canada, all of whom had intentions to conceive. Only 8% of men said they used marijuana at least once a week while 82% men reported they never use cannabis. Around 19% of couples who did conceive ultimately reported suffering a miscarriage. If a man used marijuana weekly, it doubled the couple’s chances of suffering a miscarriage.
The study’s participants were not assigned cannabis use at random, nor did researchers operate under a double-blind procedure. Instead, Harlow and her team controlled for as many influencing factors as possible, including weight, sleep behaviors, alcohol consumption, smoking status, caffeine intake, mood disorders, and history of sexually transmitted infections. This limitation in the study meant researchers only reported an association between male marijuana usage and miscarriages, and more studies are necessary before indicating a true cause-and-effect relationship.
The study was presented during the annual meeting for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Research that hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal is considered preliminary, but the study falls in line with new scientific literature causing doctors to suggest men staying away from marijuana while trying to conceive.
Previous research from Denmark indicated that men’s reproductive organs include a robust endocannabinoid system, which wasn’t previously known, demonstrating how cannabis use affects sperm. Duke scientists also focused on what specific mutations sperm undergoes when males regularly use marijuana. Combining rat and small human trials, researchers discovered changes in a gene strongly connected with post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and autism. However, the Duke scientists expressed caution before drawing conclusions from their study.