Marijuana smoking is linked to higher sperm concentrations.

Updated: Apr 28

According to recent research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, men who have smoked marijuana at some stage in their lives had substantially higher sperm concentrations compared with men who have never smoked marijuana. The study, which was performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Clinic, also found that there was no substantial difference in sperm concentrations between current and former smokers of marijuana.

Jorge Chavarro, Harvard Chan School Associate Professor, said that "these surprise results demonstrate how little we are aware of the replicable health effects of marijuana in general and the health impacts of marijuana in particular. Our results ought to be interpreted with caution and that they highlight the necessity to further study the health effects of marijuana use.”

The thesis was published in human reproduction on 5 February 2019. 16.5% of people in the United States are projected to consume weed and demand for recreational marijuana use has significantly risen in recent years. It is important to consider the health benefits of marijuana usage, given that perception that it presents little health danger is growing.

Researchers presumed that consuming pot would be correlated with a poorer amount of sperm. Earlier research on marijuana indicated that the impact of this condition on the sexual wellbeing of people were detrimental, although most tests focused on models of animals or on individuals with history of substance addiction.

In this analysis, 1,143 semen samples were obtained from 662 people between 2000 and 2017. On average, the individuals were 36 years old, and most of them were white and graduated from college. In addition, 317 of the participants received blood samples that were tested for reproductive hormones. To acquire details on marijuana use among study participants, researchers used a self-reported questionnaire that asked individuals a variety of questions regarding their usage, including if they had ever smoked more than two joints or an equal quantity of pot in their lifetime and if they were current weed smokers.

Among the participants, 365 or 55% reported having smoked cannabis at some moment in time. Of those, 44% said they were former users of pot, and 11% said they were current smokers. Semen evaluation showed that men who smoked marijuana had average sperm concentrations of 62.7 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate, whereas men who had never smoked marijuana had average concentrations of 45.4 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate. Just 5% of marijuana smokers had sperm concentrations below 15 million / mL ( the World Health Organization's "standard" threshold ) relative to 12% of men who had never ever smoked cannabis.

The research also showed that greater usage was correlated with higher serum testosterone concentrations between marijuana smokers. The researchers noted that there are several possible constraints to the results, including that participants may have under-reported marijuana usage owing to its classification as an illegal drug for most of the study period. The researchers stressed that they may not know to what degree such results can relate to people in the general community as the sample population consisted of subfertile men in couples receiving care at a fertility centre. In addition, they acknowledged that there are few related research to evaluate their findings.

"Our findings challenged our theory at the beginning. However, they are aligned with two separate explanations, the first being that low rates of marijuana usage may support sperm development due to its impact on the endocannabinoid system, which is believed to play a role in fertility, but these benefits are lost due to higher rates of marijuana use. Another equally possible explanation is that our results may indicate the reality that people with higher rates of testosterone are more likely to participate in risk-seeking activities, like marijuana." says Feiby Nassan, research study author and postdoctoral researcher @ Harvard Chan School.

Source : Hsph Harvard

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