Does Smoking Weed Affect Sperm Count or Egg Quality?
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Whether you’re a man or a woman, you may be wondering does smoking weed affect sperm quality or does THC cause infertility in females?
With one in six people globally affected by infertility, worries over marijuana smoking and the ability to conceive may weigh heavy on your mind. In this guide, we discuss the latest science to discover whether weed smoking could cause an issue if you want to start a family.
The Relationship Between Marijuana and Sperm
Your sperm is influenced by the presence of the substances within your bloodstream. One of the most common pieces of advice to boost fertility is to improve your diet and exercise regularly.
Regarding weed, studies have found that sperm also contains cannabinoid receptors, which THC can bind to. If you choose to consume marijuana, there is a risk that it could interfere with male and female fertility. Plus, THC is known to find its way into various other parts of the body, including fat cells.
These findings help to explain why studies find that smoking pot can reduce your sperm count. According to one study, smoking marijuana once per week three months before conception led to a 29% reduction in sperm count.
In short, does weed affect sperm count? Thus far, the science appears to point toward it. But more research is required to understand to what extent and why.
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How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Sperm?
Cannabis users know that this plant can provide a range of positive effects, but smoking may not be the best option if you are trying to conceive.
Does weed cause infertility? No evidence has revealed marijuana as the direct cause of infertility. But does weed affect fertility in men? Yes, and this is because the by-products of marijuana, such as cannabinoids, are prone to remain in the body long after you have extinguished your last joint.
According to another study, users who quit smoking marijuana for 77 days showed no signs of marijuana in their sperm. It would appear that the marijuana sperm phenomenon is temporary. On the other hand, more research into the average weed sperm count of males in the long term is required.
It must also be mentioned that everyone reacts to marijuana differently. While the above study gave a precise figure for how long it takes for cannabis to leave your reproductive system, this is only an average.
So, how long does pot stay in sperm? Some people may need to wait longer to recapture their usual fertility levels.
Does Smoking Weed Affect Sperm Count?
Does THC affect fertility? Unfortunately, the answer appears to be true. Although the exact mechanisms are yet to be fully understood, multiple studies have confirmed that weed can lower sperm count.
According to a study from the University of Chicago, the data revealed that marijuana decreased sperm count. Additionally, they found that marijuana can decrease the volume of semen and even alter the sperm’s shape.
So, does weed lower sperm count? Yes, and several theories have been produced as to why, including:
- Hormonal Disruption – Since marijuana interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), your usual hormonal balance may be affected because the ECS also influences hormone production.
- Sperm Production – Sperm is produced in the testes through the spermatogenesis process. Marijuana use may result in alterations to this process, reducing production.
- DNA Damage – THC can cause a degree of oxidative stress to different parts of the body. It’s believed that oxidative stress could damage the sperm’s DNA, reducing its viability and quality.
- Sperm Motility – Motility is the ability of sperm to swim in the correct direction and fertilize the egg. Some studies have found that marijuana does not impact motility, whereas others claim it hampers motility.
It will take some time for scientists to uncover the reasons for decreased sperm quality and count, but all the evidence does seem to link marijuana with lowered fertility levels.
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Does Smoking Weed Cause Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
ED is a common condition for American males. According to the latest statistics, 18% of American men suffer from some degree of ED. But even though we know the answer to “Can weed affect fertility?” this is one area where the scientific community isn’t sure.
According to research published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, scientists found a correlation between consuming cannabis and the development of ED. They found that male pot smokers were twice as likely to have the condition.
But to date, there is no conclusive evidence to link ED and cannabis usage. Since ED has so many potential physical and mental health causes, it can be challenging to determine whether marijuana is the trigger or even a contributing factor.
The Relationship Between Marijuana and Eggs
The link between sperm and marijuana has been established in males, but can weed make you infertile as a woman?
Sadly, the influence of marijuana infertility also appears to apply to women. In a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) study, marijuana use was linked to a 40% decrease in the chances of a successful conception.
Even though you know “Does smoking weed affect sperm?”, you may be wondering why this appears to have a similar impact on females. Again, scientists are unsure as to the mechanisms, but several theories have been advanced, including:
- Hormonal Disruption – As in men, marijuana also interacts with the female ECS, which is also responsible for hormone production. Cannabis use could disrupt this process, influencing ovulation, menstrual cycles, and even overall reproductive health.
- Ovulation – Some studies have pointed toward links between weed and changed ovulation timelines. A small-scale study found that chronic marijuana use could delay ovulation by 1.7-3.5 days on average.
- Implantation – Certain scientists have theorized that using marijuana may impact embryo implantation in the uterine lining, which could prevent pregnancy.
- Egg Quality – THC may also cause a decrease in overall egg quality. Poor egg quality decreases the odds of successful fertilization.
On a side note, women undergoing fertility treatments like In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) may experience a lower success rate if consuming marijuana.
Does Smoking Weed Cause Infertility in Females?
Becoming infertile is a risk many women face throughout their lives, but smoking weed alone is not enough to turn a fertile woman into an infertile one. But even though the smoking weed and fertility link has not been conclusive, marijuana may still disrupt your attempt at starting a family.
For example, a study into women’s health found that female marijuana smokers had a twofold increase in their rate of pregnancy loss.
But this could be due to other factors or the act of smoking itself.
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Does Smoking Weed Cause Poor Egg Quality?
It can, but this is a relatively new area of study, meaning no conclusive links can be drawn as of this writing.
Scientists believe some signs indicate that smoking cannabis could lead to poorer egg quality. The three reasons cited for this include the following:
- Irregular or lack of ovulation.
- Oxidative stress on the body causes damage to eggs.
- Difficulty with embryo implantation.
Smoking weed may cause poorer egg quality, but crucially, no evidence exists to prove that weed consumption – either during or before conception – could increase your chances of a stillbirth or miscarriage.
Is Alcohol or Weed Worse for Fertility?
Alcohol and weed have been associated with decreased fertility rates in both genders. Neither is beneficial for a successful pregnancy. But you may be wondering how each substance interacts with the body. Here’s a breakdown of each substance.
Alcohol and Fertility
- Heavy alcohol consumption is known for decreasing fertility in both genders.
- Excessive alcohol intake can disrupt the menstrual cycle, cause hormonal imbalances, and interfere with ovulation in women.
- Men experience lowered sperm production, reduced quality, decreased motility, and impaired testosterone levels.
- Alcohol directly harms developing fetuses, which can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).
Marijuana and Fertility
- Marijuana consumption may adversely affect male and female fertility.
- Women may experience disrupted ovulation patterns and hormonal imbalances.
- Men may experience lower sperm count and motility.
- THC can cause problems with fertilization and embryo development.
Alcohol vs. Weed Comparison
Both alcohol and weed can have significant effects on your fertility and your reproductive health. Does marijuana affect male fertility and female fertility as severely as alcohol?
This is one question that remains unanswered. Either way, heavy or chronic use of marijuana or alcohol during conception and pregnancy is not recommended.
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Five Alternatives to Marijuana When Starting a Family
If you’re concerned about your fertility or you want to reduce the risk of problems when conceiving, you may want to consider switching out your usual routine.
Here are a selection of alternatives to marijuana when starting a family.
1. Go Cold Turkey
By far, the most effective method of countering fertility issues is to take a break. Marijuana does not have any permanent effects on fertility. All studies have indicated that any changes to your reproductive system are temporary and can be alleviated by quitting marijuana.
2. Start a Meditation Habit
Many families use marijuana to help alleviate chronic stress and anxiety. Pregnancy is a stressful time for all, but consider meditation instead of reaching for a joint.
Meditation is a proven method of reducing stress and anxiety. It also has the bonus of improving sleep quality and helping with pain management.
3. Take Up Exercise
Regular exercise is another method of reducing stress and anxiety. Like meditation, it can make it simpler to get more high-quality sleep. Furthermore, it’s an excellent way of staying healthy for women during the latter months of pregnancy.
4. Join a Therapy Session
Are you struggling to cope with the emotional challenges of starting a family?
In this case, therapy could be the answer. You may choose to engage in a formal therapy session for pregnant women, or it may be as simple as setting aside some quality time with family and friends.
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5. Get Some Acupuncture
Acupuncture may be a form of alternative medicine, but it has proven highly effective in supporting women as they cope with pregnancy-related symptoms.
Some of the symptoms acupuncture can relieve include:
- Back pain
Have More Questions? Apply for an MMJ Card & Talk to a Specialist Now!
Does smoking weed affect sperm? It can, and it may also impact other areas of fertility. For this reason, you may be wondering whether medical cannabis is right for you. This is a personal decision and depends on the reasons for consuming marijuana in the first place.
At Green Health Docs, we’re the experts in all things medical marijuana. Whether you want to learn more about medical weed or determine your eligibility for an online MMJ card, our team can help.
To learn more about medical cannabis, contact Green Health Docs now.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.