Study finds that smoking marijuana affects sperm quality in men


The acceptance of cannabis and steps towards its legalisation in major parts of the world has made it a prime topic of research. One area that is not widely studied yet is cannabis and its role in disturbing sperm quality.

A recent study shows that many countries are going through an extreme fertility crisis and the sperm count in their adult population has drastically decreased.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development estimates approximately 9 % of US men have experienced infertility. Due to such a large population to be hit with a common health problem, scientists are studying different risk factors for infertility in men.

This new study performed by the researchers of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA explains the effects of marijuana smoking on fertility.

The research findings are published in the journal Human Reproduction and are available to view online.

The highly unexpected results show that general health effects of marijuana are still not clear. Any research on marijuana needs extreme caution and promising more studies to explain the effects in detail.

How marijuana affects sperm concentration?

Initially, it was thought that men who either smoked or had smoked marijuana have a low sperm quality. But the research results did not support this hypothesis.

The study investigators recruited 662 men from a Fertility Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston between the years 2000 and 2017. The age of an average participant was 36 years old.

They collected analyzed 1,143 semen samples from the study participants. They also took 317 blood samples from these men. The blood samples were to determine the reproductive hormones.

The researchers gave each of the participants a questionnaire to fill. There were questions about their use of marijuana and how much they smoke. Also, if they are currently smoking marijuana or not.

To a surprise, 365 (or 55%) of the participants had experience with marijuana at some time of their life. From these participants, only 44% admitted that they no longer use marijuana. Whereas 11% confirmed their current usage of marijuana.

The sample analysis told that men who have used marijuana had high sperm concentrations than nonsmokers. More specifically, the sperm concentration of marijuana smokers was 62.7 million sperm/ml of ejaculate. The non-smokers had 45.4 million sperm/ml of ejaculate.

More research to confirm the reason

This is not all; another study reported that marijuana smokers also have high blood testosterone levels. But the scientists are still concerned that these results may not be the same as the general public. One main point here is that this study was only performed on men seeking fertility treatment.

Although these results are unexpected in the context of marijuana’s effects on the human endocannabinoid system, it may be true. More research explaining the medicinal potential of marijuana may explain it in detail.




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Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.


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