Could Smoking Marijuana Help Men's Fertility?

Although the link between marijuana and fertility is not straightforward plenty of marijuana smokers get pregnant and get their partners pregnant, research demonstrates the negative impact that marijuana can have on fertility which could be affecting you, your partner, or the fertility of both of you.

Female Fertility

Even before intercourse takes place, marijuana decreases libido. And if you aren’t feeling in the mood, it’s that much more difficult to get started. Because early drug use is associated with other risk behaviors, teenage girls who smoke marijuana are more likely to get pregnant. However, the effects of marijuana on fertility seem to accumulate over time. So, by your mid-twenties, as a chronic marijuana smoking woman, you are more likely to experience a delay in getting pregnant.

Could Smoking Marijuana Help Men's Fertility? However, even occasional users of marijuana may have reduced fertility. Women who smoke marijuana have an increased risk of infertility due to abnormal ovulation, even for those women who have used low levels of marijuana within a year of trying to get pregnant. Marijuana use also increases the risk of miscarriage and is known to cross the placenta, although the effects of marijuana exposure in the womb are not as well documented as the effects of alcohol and some other drugs.

Male Fertility

Despite the relaxation effects that many people associate with marijuana use, research has shown marijuana has negative effects on the male sexual response. Marijuana has been found to increase impotence. As well as interfering with you and your partner being able to have sex, impotence can also have negative effects on the male ego. If your husband has been impotent, he may be feeling more pressure to have sex to get you pregnant, but be frustrated with his inability to do so. This can lead to misunderstandings between you that make it more difficult to have sex. Marijuana can also interfere with a man’s ability to ejaculate. Marijuana also negatively affects sperm production, reducing sperm count. The sperm produced by a marijuana smoking man show an abnormal pattern of activity—instead of swimming slowly, allowing them to conserve energy for the long journey to the egg, they are initially hyperactive, then run out of energy often before they can penetrate the egg.

Overall, 44% of the women and 61% of the men in the study reported they had smoked marijuana at some point in their lives. But just 12 women (3%) and 23 men (12%) in the study said they were currently using marjuana. Among the small number of women who said they currently smoked marijuana and became pregnant during the study, more than 50% experienced a pregnancy loss, compared with just 26% of the women who were past marijuana users or who had never used the drug.

This finding suggests that marijuana use among women “may be related to worse infertility treatment outcomes,” the authors said. But they caution that since very few women in the study were current marijuana users, it’s possible that this finding was due to chance. On the other hand, among couples whose male partner was a current marijuana user, 48% eventually had a live birth, compared with just 29% of couples whose male partner was a past marijuana user or who had never used it. The link held even after the researchers took into account some factors that could affect fertility, including the participants’ age, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), tobacco smoking history, coffee intake, alcohol use and cocaine use.

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