According to recent research performed by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, males who have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives had much higher sperm concentrations than guys who have never smoked marijuana. There was no significant change in sperm concentrations between present and previous marijuana smokers, according to the study, which was done in the Fertility Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“These surprising findings show how little we know about the impacts of marijuana on reproductive health, and indeed about the health effects of marijuana in general,” said Jorge Chavarro, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard Chan School.
“Our findings should be interpreted with caution, and they underline the need for more research into marijuana’s health effects.”
Human Reproduction released the report on February 5, 2019.
Health Repercussions – Marijuana
In the United States, it is believed that 16.5 percent of adults use marijuana, and support for legalising it for recreational use has risen considerably in recent years. Given the widespread assumption that marijuana poses few health risks, it is critical to understand the health repercussions connected with its usage.
The researchers suspected that marijuana use was linked to poorer sperm quality. Previous research on marijuana has linked it to harmful impacts on male reproductive health, but the majority of those studies utilised animal models or males with a history of drug usage.
Data collection for Study
Between 2000 and 2017, researchers gathered 1,143 semen samples from 662 men for this investigation. The guys were 36 years old on average, and the majority were Caucasian and college-educated. In addition, 317 of the participants supplied blood samples for reproductive hormone analysis. Researchers employed a self-reported questionnaire to gather information on marijuana use among study participants. The men were asked if they had ever smoked more than two joints or the equivalent amount of marijuana in their lives, as well as if they were current marijuana smokers.
365 people, or 55 percent, said they have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives. 44 percent indicated they had smoked it in the past, while 11 percent claimed they were currently doing so.
Men who had smoked marijuana had an average sperm concentration of 62.7 million sperm per millilitre of ejaculate, whereas men who had never smoked it had an average concentration of 45.4 million sperm per millilitre of ejaculate, according to the semen samples. In comparison to men who had never smoked marijuana, only 5% of smokers had sperm concentrations below 15 million/mL (the World Health Organization’s criteria for “normal” levels).
Marijuana Smokers have Advantage Somewhere
The study also discovered that higher marijuana use was linked to higher serum testosterone levels among these smokers.
The researchers emphasised that the findings could have multiple flaws, including the possibility that participants underreported marijuana usage because it was illegal for the majority of the study period. The researchers cautioned that because the study sample consisted of subfertile men among couples seeking treatment at a fertility facility, they don’t know how broadly these findings apply to guys in the general community. They also mentioned that there are few comparable studies to compare their findings to.
“Our findings were the polar opposite of what we had predicted. However, they are consistent with two different interpretations. The first is that low levels of marijuana use may benefit sperm production due to its effect on the endocannabinoid system, which is known to play a role in fertility, but those benefits are lost with higher levels of marijuana consumption,” said Feiby Nassan, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral research fellow at Haas.
“An equally possible view is that our findings reflect the reality that males with greater testosterone levels are more prone to engage in risky behaviours, such as marijuana smoking.”