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How Does Cannabis Affect Fertility?

Medicine

How Does Cannabis Affect Fertility?

What’s the truth about cannabis and fertility? The current research is complicated, but we do have evidence on how cannabis affects fertility rates. 


Can cannabis use affect your fertility? This medical concern may worry you if you’re a heavy marijuana user. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about starting a family and you’re curious to learn if regular cannabis use has had an effect on your reproductive health.

There’s no straightforward answer when it comes to the question of cannabis and fertility. There are multiple factors at play and tons of variables that can affect a new pregnancy. Furthermore, everyone’s body and reproductive system is unique. 

Cannabis & Fertility – Myth vs. Fact

You may have heard the myths that cannabis use has a negative effect on your fertility. However, the Canadian Medical Association Journal states that for the majority of couples, moderate cannabis use will not affect your ability to conceive.

In fact, the Boston University of Public Health found positive results surrounding fertility and cannabis use. This research concluded that not only was there no reduction in the fertility of male or female cannabis users, but there may even be fertility benefits. 

Researchers suspect that these fertility benefits could be associated with how cannabis affects the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in fertility. The results from these studies suggest that low levels of cannabis consumption may be overall beneficial for sperm production.

Studies from the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health found that men with a history of smoking weed actually have higher concentrations of sperm. Their reports also show that males who use marijuana tend to have higher testosterone levels. These studies contradict the initial hypothesis that cannabis use has negative effects on male reproductive health.

Contradicting Results & Studies

Approximately 15% of the population experience some form of infertility. The healthcare system spends more than $5 billion every year determining the causes of these fertility issues. Overall, the effects of cannabis use on reproductive health has had historically conflicting results.

One study about cannabis and fertility looked at North American couples in relationships between 2013 and 2017. In these relationships, 12% of females and 14% of males reported to using cannabis in the months prior to the survey. None of the participants were using contraception or were undergoing fertility treatments. 

Researchers monitored the conception prospects of the couples, and found that they were the same between the cannabis users and non-users. While this evidence is interesting, it’s important to note that the study relied on self-reporting. This could have an impact on the results.

It’s important to treat the results from these studies with caution, since there is still more to learn. Most research regarding cannabis and fertility has been performed on animals. The results from these animal-based studies indicate inferior quality sperm with increased cannabis use. However, to be certain of the results, we would need to perform these experiments on humans. 

CBD & Fertility

The incredible non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, CBD, has many medical applications. When consumed, this compound can help manage chronic pain, seizures, skin problems, sleep disorders, and more. Promising results are also being discovered with regards to CBD and fertility for both sexes.

CBD activates the endocannabinoid system, which is a biological system of neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. The regulation of fertility and pregnancy is associated with this system. For men, cannabinoid receptors have been discovered in their sperm. These receptors have an affect on sperm quality and its ability to fertilize the ovum. The female ovarian function also benefits from these cannabinoid receptors. In women, the receptors regulated the maturation of ovarian follicles.

Another surprising result from CBD that could lead to more pregnancies is female arousal. Some women report that using CBD makes them aroused more often and more intensely. However, this may not be the case for everyone. Some contradicting evidence suggests that cannabis use can actually cause a loss of libido for both sexes. 

The Truth About Cannabis & Fertility

Fertility is a complicated matter, and the effects of cannabis use is a severely under-researched field. You may find conflicting studies and results, but overall, the conclusion amongst the cannabis community is clear. It seems that moderate marijuana use is not harmful while trying to conceive and will not impact fertility. 

If you have existing fertility issues, marijuana use could exacerbate these problems, especially with heavy consumption. As with any significant decision regarding your health, speaking with a health professional is advised. Use caution and consult with your doctor if you’re concerned about cannabis use and fertility.

Philip

Philip Ghezelbash is passionate about presenting complex science in an easy to digest manner and is a firm believer in the power of cannabis. As an ex-personal trainer, science graduate, best-selling author, and freelance writer, Philip has helped educate millions of curious people around the world about science-based health, nutrition, and fitness.

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