It’s official, a history of smoking marijuana has been linked to a greater fertility in men.
More than 600 men from couples attending a fertility clinic in the UK who joined the test willingly have their sperm counts tested and the result came as a surprise to some scientists.
It has long been thought by scientists and health professionals that cannabis actually lowers fertility and has a detrimental effect on sperm counts.
This finding doesn’t necessarily guarantee that smoking cannabis does, in fact, lead to increased chances of fatherhood, but the results are pretty tough to ignore, the researchers said.
There could be a non-casual explanation for the association like effects on the male hormone testosterone on both sperm count and essentially any risk-taking behaviour.
“These unexpected results show how little we actually know about the reproductive health effects of marijuana. In fact, it shows a general unawareness of marijuana’s effect on general health overall.” Says lead researcher Dr Jorge Chavarro from the Harvard T.H. Schan School of public health in Boston.
Previous research in the field prior to this finding suggested that cannabis actually impaired the reproductive health of animals – but it appears us humans are completely different.
How the study was conducted
Investigators collected 1,143 semen samples from 662 men between the years 2000 and 2017.
On average, the men partaking in the study were 36 years old and college educated. Ironically, all of the samples belonged to couples attending a fertility clinic.
Participants were asked to fill in questionnaires detailing their use of cannabis in their past.
Over 55 per cent of the men reported to have smoked cannabis or taken some form of CBD oils. Of the 55 percent, 44 percent said they had taken the drug and 11 percent said that they were active users.
The analysis showed that the semen samples of men who had smoked cannabis had an astonishing sperm concentration of 62.7 million sperm per millilitre
Conversely, those that had never smoke cannabis in their lives at all only had an average count of just 45.4 million/ml.
Of the participants, only 5 percent of the cannabis users had a sperm count below 15 million/ml – the World Health organisation’s guideline thresh-hold for levels that are considered ‘normal’.
As a side-note, it was also shown that greater use of cannabis and CBD oils showed an increase in testosterone levels.
When trying to find reasons as to how cannabis has an effect on fertility, experts said that the endocannabinoid chemical messenger in the brain, which is clearly activated by cannabis, is known to play a role in fertility.
Interestingly, this isn’t just for men though. In another study conducted by the Boston University who are studying the influence of lifestyle factors on fertility, found that the women that did choose to smoke marijuana had a higher chance of conceiving opposed to those that didn’t
There is also evidence though that cannabis has some adverse effects on ovulation and scientists have said that it varies with different people.
Although all of these studies are infantile in stages – could this be another positive notch on the cannabis belt when it comes to health benefits?