Surprising study finds that marijuana use may not hurt male fertility
Surprising study finds that marijuana use may not hurt male fertility
Men who have smoked marijuana are more fertile -study
07 February, 2019, 12:41
While the findings are certainly intriguing, it's important to note, as the researchers do, that the study is not without its limitations, and the results certainly don't mean that marijuana is great for your reproductive health - previous research has linked it to reduced fertility, after all.
The result came as a surprise to Harvard University scientists measuring the sperm counts of more than 600 men from couples attending a fertility clinic.
In the new study, the researchers analyzed details from 662 men who were evaluated for infertility from 2000 to 2017 at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center.
According to the study, men who smoke weed have higher sperm count than those who do not.
Fifty-five percent of the men said they had smoked marijuana at some point, with 44 percent doing so in the past and 11 percent being current users.
The 365 men who reported having ever smoked pot had "significantly higher sperm concentration" - precisely 63 million sperm per milliliter of semen - compared to the 297 who have never taken a hit, which averaged 45 million/mL.
The findings, published in the journal Human Reproduction, also showed that only 5% of marijuana smokers had sperm concentrations below 15 million/mL, which is the World Health Organization's threshold for "normal" levels, compared with 12% of the non-smokers.
Although researchers found a potential link between marijuana use and sperm counts, they warned that the findings are not definitive and do "not mean using marijuana is going to increase your sperm count", Chavarro told Time.
Dr Jorge Chavarro said the findings were unexpected - and highlight how little is known "about the reproductive health effects of marijuana, and in fact 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 USA coupled with a greater perception that marijuana poses no health risks". About half of the men in the sample had also gotten a blood test, allowing the researchers to look at their levels of hormones such as testosterone.
The study also found that among the men who had ever smoked pot, "those who smoked it more often had testosterone levels an average of eight nanograms per decilitre higher than those who used it less often". They were also all college-educated white men, so the results can't be applied to the wider population.
"Our findings were contrary to what we initially hypothesized".
They suggest that the association may not show any cause-and effect relationship, but rather reflect the influence of the male hormone, testosterone, on both sperm count and risk-taking behavior, such as smoking cannabis.
Scientists found there was no significant difference in sperm concentrations between current and former smokers.
Other experts in the field have questioned how robust the association is. But maybe men with high testosterone are just more likely to do drugs.
If you're a male looking to increase your chances of getting a woman pregnant, you may want to start smoking marijuana.
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