When considering the pros and cons of marijuana use, it is important to remain informed about the drug’s effect on personal health and the potential risks involved in casual or daily use. Aside from cognitive effects on users, which can include memory loss and what some studies have suggested are lower IQ scores among people who have used cannabis heavily since adolescence, the drug also affects the function of the body. While much research remains to be done about the side effects of cannabis, there does appear to be strong scientific evidence concerning the effect of the drug on sperm count and sperm concentration in both casual and regular users.
Why Sperm Count is Vital to Reproductive Health
For couples that are planning to conceive, a low sperm count can be a major factor in creating the condition of infertility. For many individuals who hope to raise children, infertility can be a psychologically difficult if not devastating condition and can even have an extremely detrimental effect on relationships. Individuals who are concerned about their sperm count can have doctors analyze whether they are at risk for infertility. Users of cannabis may want to consider whether their use of the drug contributes to difficulties in conceiving or if the risk to their future health is worth the benefits of using the drug.
What Studies on Marijuana Use Say
Scientists who have performed research on the connection between cannabis use and lower sperm count have not reached a conclusion as to what part of the marijuana plant lowers sperm production, but the link between cannabis use and low sperm quality is compelling. One study of over 1,200 young men who used cannabis either casually or regularly found a significant correlation between cannabis use and decreased sperm counts. For example, while other scientists have noticed similar connections between cannabis use and infertility in patients, a man’s use of cannabis may not be the only risk factor for infertility. Scientists have even observed detrimental effects on sperm fertility when the female partner was using cannabis. For couples that hope to conceive, it is clear that use by either partner will likely have a detrimental effect on conception.
What Does This Mean for Cannabis Users?
For both casual and regular users, the negative effects of cannabis consumption on semen production may be a wake-up call to the potential health problems that may result from cannabis use. The ability to conceive a child is often an important factor in many couples’ relationships. An inability to raise a family may be an enormous drawback to cannabis users who want to have children, particularly when they are unaware that drug use is causing reproductive problems. Fortunately, quitting cannabis can lead to improvements in sperm levels, although the process may take time. For many users, consulting with a trusted physician or another health advisor may be the key to having a healthy reproductive system and a future that aligns with family planning goals.
When considering the benefits and drawbacks of cannabis use, a focus on health effects should be a key part of any decision-making process. In weighing any evidence, the quality and reliability of information is key, and for the time being, scientific consensus appears to show serious health complications among cannabis users.
Because cannabis is still a controlled substance in most US states, however, research on the drug is still limited, and future findings may reveal key connections between the ingestion of chemicals such as THC and various health conditions. For now, a balanced view on cannabis consumption and reproductive health would seem to suggest a need for caution.