The Truth About Marijuana And Sperm Fertility
Does marijuana affect sperm fertility? The answer is complicated. Research shows that smoking marijuana can have a negative effect on the male reproductive system.
It can affect sperm count and quality, as well as lower testosterone levels in men.
There is a lot of conflicting information regarding the effects of marijuana on sperm, and whether it affects male fertility.
In some cases, marijuana can lower sperm count and sperm motility, but it is unclear if marijuana affects male fertility.
Male marijuana users or the general population probably want to know whether smoking marijuana affect sperm fertility.
Marijuana is one of most used recreational drugs in the world. Many people are unaware of the health effects of marijuana use.
A new study suggests that it can cause long term infertility issues. Read on to find out more.
Causes Of Male Infertility
Fertility problems affect about 15 percent of couples in the United States.
Causes vary, but male factor infertility is one of the more common ones. Smoking marijuana does not directly affect sperm production or the ability to have children.
However, smoking marijuana does lower testosterone levels and some studies suggest that this decrease in testosterone may negatively affect sperm production and quality.
Male infertility is the inability to cause pregnancy in a fertile female. There are many possible causes of male infertility, and some treatments may be available.
The most common contributing factor to infertility in men is low sperm count, which can be caused by genetic factors, age, exposure to certain chemicals or radiation, certain diseases or lifestyle factors.
However, there are other issues that can cause infertility as well, including an inability to produce healthy sperm.
Tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity are some known risk factors to male infertility. These factors can be attributed to about 20% of cases of male infertility.
Another 30% of cases are caused by genetic abnormalities and environmental factors, such as heat and radiation. Only about 50% of male infertility cases have a known cause.
Many male cannabis users have a lower sperm count than those who don’t. This may be due to the fact that the drug causes hormone imbalances in the body, which can have an effect on sperm development.
There is some research to suggest that THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) can adversely affect sperm motility, or movement.
However, there are conflicting reports as to whether this actually has any impact on fertility.
Smoking Marijuana And Sperm Count
So how does smoking marijuana affect sperm fertility?
The active ingredient in marijuana (THC) has been shown to significantly decrease sperm counts in animal models, but fewer human studies exist.
A recent study of 1215 Danish men found that those who smoked marijuana more than once a week had lower sperm counts than non-users.
Those who smoked more than once a week also had fewer healthy sperm and more damaged DNA in their semen samples.
The results suggest that regular marijuana use may lead to infertility in men.
Testicular Functions And The Endocannabinoid System
Testicular functions are controlled by hormones present in the body.
The main hormones involved in testicular function are testosterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Testosterone is secreted by Leydig cells, which are found in the testes. FSH is secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain.
Sperm is one of the most important parts of the male reproductive system. The sperm carries the male genetic material from the testis to the female egg for fertilization.
Therefore, sperm is vital for reproduction. If a man has a low sperm count, this may also limit his fertility.
Sperm function starts in the testis or male gland. Sperm production occurs in thousands of tiny tubes within these glands that carry fluid and nutrients to produce sperm cells.
These tubes are called seminiferous tubules. In order to produce sperm, they must be capable of generating enough energy to support cell growth and function.
Seminiferous tubules should also keep the cells cool enough to prevent them from shorting out or dying off.
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, consists of receptors that are triggered when you consume cannabis.
A variety of processes in the body including appetite, human reproduction, pain sensation, mood and memory are effected by the ECS.
This system is a major regulatory system in the central nervous system. It is involved with the psychoactive effects of cannabis and is also implicated in sperm production.
The testes are responsible for producing sperm, which is a notoriously difficult process. In order to maintain sperm quality and quantity, the testes need to keep conditions within a tight temperature range.
The ECS works by maintaining homeostasis in the body, and also plays an essential role in reproduction.
As part of this process, the ECS regulates the temperature of the testes and sperm production.
Researchers believe smoking marijuana affect sperm fertility due to changes of testicular endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors found in male reproductive organs such as prostate and seminal vesicles.
More recent studies have confirmed the evidence obtained from earlier studies that cannabis use can have a negative impact on sperm health and ultimately infertility problems in long term use.
Effects Of Cannabis On Sperm Morphology And Motility
Sperm morphology is the size and shape of sperm cells.
Normally, at least 50% of sperm cells should be normal, or morphologically “normal”.
Sperm motility is the ability of sperm cells to move on their own. Both factors affect sperm quality, as well as a man’s fertility.
A systematic review of previous studies shows a link between cannabis use and reduced sperm motility, which is the ability of the sperm to “swim”.
For fertilization to actually take place, sperm needs to be able to move to the egg, which is why motility is important.
Human studies on cannabis’s effects on sperm morphology and motility are lacking, but animal studies show some evidence that cannabis may harm sperm.
In the 2019 review mentioned above, researchers looked at all the animal studies they could find and found that there’s an “extensive body of evidence” suggesting that cannabis significantly affects sperm morphology (shape) and motility (movement).
While the results are definitely promising, further research is needed to see if these effects translate to humans.
Recent Cannabis Research Reveals Sperm Impairment
Research on how smoking marijuana affects sperm fertility has increased rapidly in recent years, especially with increased legalization in many countries.
One area that is being widely studied is marijuana’s effects on reproductive functions in men.
Previous research has shown that cannabinoids such as THC (one of the active ingredients in marijuana) may impair various aspects of male reproduction including sperm production and motility.
Other research shows that cannabis lowers testosterone levels in males thus affecting normal sperm development leading to low fertility and poor semen quality.
Previous studies have shown that regular use of marijuana impairs normal reproductive functions such as sperm production, female fertility, and even the implantation process which can cause birth.
Marijuana and Fertility - an alternate view
Even though marijuana smoking has been shown to reduce sperm count, some studies show the opposite.
A recent sperm quality study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health followed 662 male study participants enrolled in a fertility center in the Boston area from 2000 to 2017.
Findings suggest that men who used marijuana tended to have higher average sperm concentration levels than those who had never smoked the drug.
Sperm concentration was significantly higher in marijuana smokers than in men who do not smoke marijuana (62.7 vs. 45.4 million sperms / milliliter of ejaculate) .
It important to note that the researchers didn’t discover any significant difference in sperm morphology in the marijuana smokers.
The researchers noted that the findings could have important implications for men undergoing male infertility treatment.
Given that recreational marijuana use has increased dramatically over the past decade, the study suggest it’s a great time to raise awareness about male reproductive health effects of marijuana use Nationally.
Does CBD affect Sperm Count?
CBD has also not been proven to affect sperm count, so if you are using cannabis for medicinal purposes, CBD may be a viable alternative to THC in terms of treating your condition without affecting your fertility.
It is also a good idea to check with your doctor before trying medical marijuana products to discuss the possible side effects.
Marijuana And Fertility - The Bottom Line
Cannabis sativa contains hundreds of chemicals called cannabinoids. The most well-known cannabinoid is called THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is responsible for many of the effects of cannabis, including relaxation, a feeling of euphoria, and increased appetite.
A lot of research on cannabis and sexual health is still in its early stages. That’s partly because marijuana is illegal in many countries and ethically controversial in others.
For men, smoking marijuana affect sperm fertility in a number of ways. Research indicates that using cannabis often can decrease sperm count and sperm quality.
This is especially true for younger males of reproductive age.
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health in 2015 found that men who started smoking before they turned 18 had their sperm counts cut in half by age 26.
By the time they reached their early 30s, the average sperm count was less than 20 million per millilitre. That’s well below what’s considered to be healthy.
Clinical trials have determined that cannabis use can affect the normal development of sperm, but other studies have found no alteration in sperm health.
While there is currently not enough research to understand how smoking marijuana affect fertility, experts know that excessive marijuana use can have adverse effects on male reproductive health.
However, the good news is that all not men who smoke marijuana will have some sort of sexual dysfunction.
In fact, most studies find no link between regular cannabis usage and erectile dysfunction or testosterone levels.
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