Tulane researcher suggests marijuana can cause infertility in men

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By Lance Sumler, Tulane University

As more states legalize marijuana, a new study by a Tulane University researcher has a warning for would-be dads. Smoking weed regularly may harm a man’s fertility.

Researchers from Tulane and the University of Washington found a connection between low semen volume and damaged sperm among men who smoked marijuana. But the side effects weren’t all bad. The study also found that men who smoked marijuana were more likely to have sperm that swam faster.

The findings were published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Urology.

“This is one of the first studies that show a decline in sperm quality in current and past marijuana smokers, compared to non-smokers,” said Dr. Omer A. Raheem, lead author on the study and assistant professor of urology at Tulane University School of Medicine. “This is significant because it adds to the evolving evidence of the potential negative impacts of marijuana on human reproduction.”

Globally, marijuana use has risen by 60 percent over the past decade, and the drug affects more than the mind. Cannabis has compounds that can affect the male reproductive system, yet prior studies haven’t agreed on how that impacts fertility.

To better understand the connection, researchers surveyed men undergoing fertility evaluation at a urology clinic in Washington state where recreational marijuana use is legal. They asked patients about their marijuana use and results were compared to a semen analysis.

Of the 409 men in the study, 174 reported marijuana use with 71 (17%) identifying as current smokers and 103 (25%) identifying as past smokers. Compared with non-smokers, current and past users were more than twice as likely to have abnormal sperm development. They were also significantly more likely to have low semen volume.

While both factors make it harder to conceive, at least one side effect of regularly smoking marijuana may help. The study found it could improve sperm motility or how fast they can swim. Sperm motility was more likely to be lower in non-smokers than current and past smokers. Healthy sperm swim at a speed of at least 25 micrometers per second.

More studies are needed to find out whether these impacts are lasting and widespread, Raheem said.

“It’s unclear if the sperm changes that take place due to marijuana use are reversible and if there’s a specific amount of time required to achieve sperm recovery following the discontinuation of marijuana smoking,” Raheem said. “Much more research and randomized studies are needed to gain a full understanding of the relationship between marijuana and male reproductive health.”

2 thoughts on “Tulane researcher suggests marijuana can cause infertility in men

  1. Cannabis consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide!

    There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize cannabis nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

    The prohibitionist view on cannabis is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

    Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

    Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of cannabis prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

    With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a cannabis prohibitionist to do?

    Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Cannabis Legalization Efforts!

    • Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of cannabis legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

      The prohibition of cannabis has not decreased the supply nor the demand for cannabis at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

      If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

      Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize cannabis when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

      Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Cannabis Laws.

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