Fair warning to men in relationships eager to conceive with their partner: Smoking cannabis could have an adverse effect on your reproductive health. While the conclusions are far from definitive, mounting evidence suggests the best practice might be to forego the green while trying to have a baby.
A new study out of Brazil, and published in AUA Journals’ The Journal of Urology, tested 622 sperm samples from men of various lifestyles. Researchers evaluated the sperm of men who regularly smoked cigarettes, others who were known to be fertile, some regular cannabis consumers, and participants they knew were infertile.
Their conclusions found those who commonly used marijuana saw their sperm significantly drop in quality. Out of all the groups, the sperm of known cannabis users was most comparable to swimmers of infertile men.
“Overall, the marijuana group had semen quality equivalent to the infertile group, with the exception of higher ROS and DNA damage than infertile men,” study co-author Dr. Jorge Hallak told Medpage Today. “DNA damage is higher in all groups (marijuana users, smokers, and infertile men) as compared to controls, but higher levels were found in the marijuana group and infertile men.”
In addition, the sperm of marijuana smokers had erratic or unusual sperm cell size and shape, as well as sluggish swimmers. Sperm counts were also down among marijuana smokers when compared to control groups.
“Both marijuana and tobacco are deleterious for testicular function but marijuana caused more sperm functional defects than tobacco, mediated by excess intracellular ROS generation,” the paper concluded.
Scientists at Duke University found similar results of reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm when studying reproductive health of marijuana users last year. Our own medical expert Dr. Jordan Tishler also previously wrote when examining medical literature how marijuana affects male sperm, “The bad news (if you want to become a father) is that marijuana appears to have negative effects on sperm count, sperm morphology, and sperm motility—all of which are important for getting pregnant.”
Here’s perhaps a simple way of thinking about all this: If you’re trying to conceive, it’s probably best to lay off the weed.