Men who have smoked weed have higher sperm concentrations

07 February, 2019, 12:44 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Cannabis: Sperm count and testosterone could increase after use | Daily Star

They looked at semen samples taken from more than 600 men who had visited Massachusetts General Hospital's fertility clinic from 2000 to 2017.

They found 365 men who smoked cannabis had a significantly higher sperm concentration than the 297 men who abstained.

The participants were given questionnaires to fill in which 55% of the men reported to have ever smoked Indian hemp, 44% said they had smoked it in the recent past and 11% reported to have been current smokers.

Comparing these results to their semen samples, the researchers found that men who had smoked marijuana had average sperm concentrations of 62.7 million sperm per millilitre.

"The relations we see between cannabis smoking, sperm counts and testosterone levels are because men with higher testosterone, within normal levels, have higher sperm counts and are more likely to smoke cannabis", she said.

Nevertheless, the study authors quickly noted that smoking cannabis may not mean that one's chances of becoming a father increases.

Jorge Chavarro, study author and associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard Chan School, commented: "These unexpected findings highlight how little we know about the reproductive health effects of marijuana, and in fact of the health effects of marijuana in general".

"Secondly, the study is a great opportunity to spark interest on investigating the health effects of marijuana particularly with the backdrop of increasing legalization of recreational use in the US coupled with a greater perception that marijuana poses no health risks". The men who had smoked marijuana also had lower levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, which has been associated with a greater risk of infertility, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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The men were, on average, 36 years old, mostly white and mostly university-educated.

In short, Allan Pacey meant high testosterone = risk-taking behaviours, like smoking weed.

Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, the scientists said it was possible that low level exposure to cannabis might benefit sperm production in some way.

"Our findings were contrary to what we hypothesized at the start of the study", study lead author Feiby Nassan, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in the statement.

The participants in the new study self-reported their marijuana use, so the details they gave may not have been accurate.

Other experts in the field have questioned how robust the association is. But many of these studies have only involved animals or focused on a small group of people (including the one last December).

Experts believe there may be a link between moderate cannabis use and how that can benefit the male's reproductive system. However, they were shocked to find that those who smoked the drug - even if it was only once - had a higher fertility rate than those who did not. The men in the new study, however, were smoking, on average, two joints a week.

Only 5% of cannabis users had sperm counts below 15 million/mL, the World Health Organisation's threshold for "normal" levels, compared with 12% of men who had never smoked cannabis.

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