Cannabis is perceived to have little impact on fertility. According to researchers, the substance has a detrimental effect on both men’s and women’s fertility.
Many people believe that marijuana affects the brain only. Though the effect may not be significant, medical personnel recommend people who wish to conceive to avoid marijuana during the preconception stage and throughout pregnancy.
How Does Cannabis Affect Fertility?
A significant number of medical studies have shown that smoking marijuana lowers fertility. According to a study conducted by the University of Buffalo, men who smoke marijuana saw a decreased sperm count. The test subjects reported smoking about 14 times a week.
Additionally, cannabis reduces the quality of women’s eggs, and its psychoactive ingredients interfere with the uterus. It is imperative to note that the negative effects of marijuana are caused by THC and other forms of cannabinoid compounds. Therefore, fertility will be affected whether you smoke joints of cannabis mixed with tobacco, inhale vaporized cannabis, consume it in baked products or smoke it via a pipe.
Things to Know About the Use of Cannabis and Fertility
Several countries around the world are legalizing the use of recreational marijuana. As a result, there will be a tremendous increase in the use of the substance. As this happens, it is wise for medical experts to counsel parents-to-be who are smokers.
Many people already suspect that smoking cannabis harms sperm health, but no one knows the extent of the harmful effects. In an effort to enlighten the public about the effects of cannabis on fertility, researchers outlined the relationship between substance abuse and fertility:
Reduced Sperm Count
There is enough evidence that shows cannabis leads to a decline in sperm count. According to a study conducted in 2015, men who regularly use cannabis experienced a 29-percent drop in sperm count.
Another research study showed that men who had never used cannabis had a higher sperm count compared to men who are frequent users of marijuana. However, more research is needed to show the long-term effect of marijuana on sperm health.
THC Affects the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors that assists the body to modulate communication with endocrine tissues, the brain and the immune system. The network of receptors plays a critical role in regulating hormones and the human reproduction system. Marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, reacts on the endocannabinoid receptors, causing several biological effects. The cannabis component drains the communication process.
Cannabis Inhibits Ovulation
Medical experts say that it’s daunting to measure the impact of cannabis on women’s fertility because there is no parameter like semen in men. However, studies show that smoking cannabis can delay the ovulation cycle by several days.
High amounts of THC in the blood decrease the production of estrogen, the hormone responsible for ovulation. If ovulation doesn’t take place, no egg will be released, and fertilization cannot happen.
Use of Cannabis Can Make Existing Fertility Issues More Pronounced
Besides leading to delayed ovulation and reduced sperm count, the use of cannabis can potentially worsen pre-existing reproduction issues. The substance affects the normal functioning of the endocannabinoid system and the biological system that is associated with ovulation and the readying of the uterine lining.
Marijuana Users Who Want to Conceive
If a couple is interested in conceiving, but they are worried because they are frequent users of cannabis, they have a reason to smile since the harmful effects are reversible. According to a study, the sperm count in men can improve after just six days of quitting. The sperm count can return to normal levels once the substance is completely eliminated from the system. Since it is fat-soluble, it may take up to three months for all traces of the substance to disappear. Experts have it that female smokers recover relatively fast compared to male smokers because the substance has a lesser effect on female fertility.