Marijuana use may increase sperm count

Dennis Joseph  EyeEm—Getty Images  EyeEm

Dennis Joseph EyeEm—Getty Images EyeEm

The surprising results from the research found that men who regularly smoke cannabis have higher sperm counts than men who don't smoke. "For example, the observation that men in this study who had ever (but not currently) smoked marijuana had a higher sperm concentration compared to those who had never done so is intriguing".

In the new study, the researchers analyzed details from 662 men who were evaluated for infertility from Ys 2000 to 2017 at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. Blood samples were also collected from 317 of the participants in order to analyse the levels of reproductive hormones.

The 365 men who reported having ever smoked pot had "significantly higher sperm concentration" - precisely 63 million sperm per milliliter of semen - compared to the 297 who have never taken a hit, which averaged 45 million/mL.

Fifty-five per cent reported having used cannabis at some point in the past, and 11 per cent said they now used the drug. Additionally, only 5 percent of marijuana smokers had sperm counts below the level considered healthy by the World Health Organisation, whereas 12 percent of non-smokers did.

Men concerned about their fertility are often warned away from marijuana use, which has been linked to lower sperm counts in previous research.

Professor Sheena Lewis from Queen's University Belfast said: 'In studies from our lab in Queens University, Belfast, we found exactly the opposite effects.

In a statement, Chavarro said that the results can not be taken on face value and need to be "interpreted with caution".

However, the authors also advised caution when interpreting the findings, saying that the study does have limitations including the possibility of participants underreporting marijuana use because of its illegality during much of the period, as well as highlighting that it's unclear how much the results would extend to the general male population.

"An equally plausible interpretation is that our findings could reflect the fact that men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to engage in risk-seeking behaviors - including drug use - and that the relations we see between cannabis smoking, sperm counts and testosterone levels are because men with higher testosterone (within normal levels) have higher sperm counts and are more likely to smoke cannabis", she said.

But the researchers urged caution over their results and called for more studies. For example, in 2015, researchers from Denmark found that men who smoked marijuana a couple of times per week had sperm counts that were almost 30 percent lower than those who didn't smoke marijuana, or those who used the drug less frequently. It's true that marijuana acts on the endocannabinoid system, which is known to play a role in fertility, so the authors say there could be some benefit to sperm production from low levels of marijuana use.

Researchers investigated the effects of marijuana on fertility, particularly in a man's sperm count. "For example, as the authors point out, men with higher sperm concentrations are likely to have more testosterone in their bodies and thus may be more likely to smoke marijuana because simply they are willing to take more risks".

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) - Forget the mellow slacker image - pot smoking might actually make men more potent. In addition, a study from past year found that marijuana's active ingredient, THC, can change the structure and development of a sperm's DNA.

A new study suggests that cannabis does effect your sperm, but maybe not in the way you might think.

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