Cannabis: Sperm count and testosterone could increase after use

Overall the sperm of past and current marijuana users seemed to be of superior quality.
Getty Images

Overall the sperm of past and current marijuana users seemed to be of superior quality. Getty Images

Men who have smoked marijuana at some point in their life had significantly higher concentrations of sperm when compared with men who have never smoked marijuana, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In their study, they found that men who had smoked marijuana have an average of 62.7 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate.

The men included in the research - mostly white, educated, with an average age of 36 - were all part of couples seeking help with conception from the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Centre between 2000 and 2017, and most of the men had normal sperm counts. 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.

Men who had smoked marijuana had more concentrated sperm than men who had never smoked marijuana, the researchers found. Sperm concentration was almost 63 million per milliliter for men who had smoked versus only about 45 million per milliliter for those had never smoked, the team reports today in the journal Human Reproduction.

What's more, only 5 percent of the marijuana smokers had lower-than-normal sperm concentrations - that is, lower than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen.

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.

"With increasing use of marijuana, there was a positive association with serum testosterone levels", Chavarro said.

More news: Dana White hoping to see Conor McGregor return in the summer
More news: Germany says 'nein' to Facebook's heavy-handed data collection in landmark ruling
More news: NASA confirms 2018 was officially Earth's fourth hottest year

"Our results need to be interpreted with caution and they highlight the need to further study the health effects of marijuana use". This had been the case in past studies, although most of those were very small, used animal models, or focused on men with histories of drug abuse.

He said: "These unexpected findings from our study highlight that we know too little about the reproductive health effects of cannabis". That conclusion surprised Jorge Chavarro - one of the study's lead authors, who is also associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "But who knows - it may turn out that marijuana is actually positive for sperm production, and we've been getting the answer wrong", Chavarro said.

Those who never smoked cannabis had an average sperm count of 45.4 million/mL.

Nassan also said that the results may have been skewed by cannabis prohibition.

Although men who had smoked pot at some point in their lives had higher sperm numbers, the study did not look at cause and effect. The authors of a study published in the journal Human Reproduction wrote of "a growing perception that marijuana poses few health hazards and with increased legalization and decriminalization of recreational marijuana use worldwide".

However, some researchers say that men with naturally higher testosterone levels are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours - meaning they are more likely to have tried cannabis. In addition, men in the study self-reported their marijuana use, and it's possible that some participants were not truthful about their marijuana use, due to the social stigma or illegal status of the drug in MA at the time the data was collected. First, participants were only asked about smoking marijuana, not consuming it in other forms, like an edible.

This seems like an interesting finding, don't you think?

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.