Does Marijuana Really Lower Sperm Count? New Study Says: No

Contrary to previous studies, researchers in Boston did not find that marijuana lowers sperm counts or a couple’s chances of getting pregnant.

Marijuana has long been accused of being a catalyst in lowering men’s sperm counts and ruining the quality of reproductive cycles. In polluted and stressful environments, it is considered to be the worst as men’s sperm counts in Western countries have been falling since 1973.

However, a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers discovered that marijuana use both by men or women does not appear to lower a couple’s chances of getting pregnant.

The study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH) was the first to evaluate the link between fecundability – the average per-cycle probability of conception – and marijuana use, Eurek Alert reported on Monday.

Women surveyed were in stable relationships and had no previous infertility issues.
Women surveyed were in stable relationships and had no previous infertility issues. (File image via Reuters)

4,194 Women Surveyed

The researchers surveyed 4,194 women aged 21 to 45 living in the United States or Canada. The researchers surveyed women, who are in stable relationships and were not using contraception or fertility treatment. Of the 4,194 women, 1,125 of their male partners enrolled.

The participants, who had 12 percent of their women reported marijuana use and 14 percent for men, were monitored from 2013 through 2016.  After 12 cycles of follow-up, conception probabilities were similar to the couples who did not use marijuana.

The study comes amid growing trend of marijuana legalization globally. More research is also starting to tackle marijuana including mapping the cannabis genome.

There are now nine U.S. states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. And Canada this summer is expected to be the first developed nation to legalize marijuana and the second after Uruguay.

Meanwhile, researchers said questions about the effects of marijuana use remain unanswered.

The researchers wrote:

“Future studies with day-specific data on marijuana use might better be able to distinguish acute from chronic effects of marijuana use, and evaluate whether effects depend on other factors.”

In the United States as high as 15 percent of couples experience infertility, costing the U.S. healthcare system more than $5 billion per year.