One of the things that we stoners are told is that smoking the herb will affect our ability to make babies later in life. Those of us who don’t care if we ever have children can feel free to ignore this warning. For others who do want to have a family someday, this can be worrisome. So how can cannabis affect your fertility?
Cannabis Use Raises Testosterone Levels
A study published in 2015 by the American Journal of Epidemiology on 1,215 Danish men from the ages of 18 to 28. Almost half (45%) of the subjects were regular cannabis users. The results showed that there was a significant increase in testosterone production. This seems like good news for stoners, since testosterone is responsible for sperm production. However, the same study also showed that sperm counts dropped in the same group of smokers. So, cannabis increases testosterone, but it lowers sperm count. We’ll call that a draw.
Cannabis Changes The Shape Of Sperm
According to another study published in 2014 by the University of Sheffield, cannabis use changes the shape and size of your sperm (this is also referred to as sperm morphology). Researchers worked with a sample of 2,249 men from 14 different fertility clinics around the UK, making it the largest study on cannabis and fertility. Participants were asked to fill out a survey prior to having a fertility test. Results found that around 14% of the subjects had less than 4 percent normal healthy sperm (4 percent being the threshold for a normal sample). The subjects that were under 30 were more likely to use cannabis in a three month period prior to having their fertility test. So if you’re under 30, you’re a regular cannabis user, and you are having trouble conceiving, it’s probably the herb, man. The good news is that the body produces new sperm every 74 days, so it will only take you a little over two months to produce boys that can swim.
Occasional Cannabis Use May Affect Women More Than Chronic Use
For women, results are not as clear. There is still a lot that we don’t know about female fertility and the female reproductive system. Ovulation is caused by something called a luteinizing hormone (LH), which is produced by the pituitary gland. A 2002 study found that cannabis lowered the level of LH produced in rhesus monkeys, but later on the level of LH produced returned to normal levels, despite cannabis use. The results seem to say that occasional cannabis use by women might be more detrimental than chronic use.
Cannabis May Affect Implantation
A study conducted in 2006 by Vanderbilt University showed that cannabis use may cause issues for a fertilized egg while it travels from the ovary to the uterus. Researchers believe that this is because THC interferes with the production of the enzyme anandamide, which is vital to embryonic development. To put it in simpler terms, cannabis may slow down the egg as it travels to the uterus, which may prevent the fertilized egg to implant correctly, causing a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. This is not a guarantee though, other lifestyle factors probably play a part as well. These results do not necessarily mean that cannabis is going to cause you to miscarry. It’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
Fertility and human reproduction is a complicated subject. There is still a lot that we don’t know about it, especially when it comes to the female reproductive system. Many things can affect fertility, even the time of year you’re trying to conceive. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant it may be a good idea to stop toking up, just to see if it helps. If you’re trying to avoid getting pregnant, then by all means keep hitting that bong! Just a disclaimer, I’m not a trained physician, just a lover of cannabis. This information comes from scientific studies that I’ve read. If you are having trouble conceiving, then you should talk to your doctor about what to do.
Featured Image Source: DrugPolicy.com
Do you have any experience with cannabis use and fertility that you want to talk about? Share in the comments!