A new study by a Tulane University researcher suggests that regular marijuana use can cause fertility problems in men.
“This is one of the first studies that show a decline in sperm quality in current and past marijuana smokers, compared to non-smokers,” said the study’s lead author, Tulane assistant professor of urology Dr. Omer A. Raheem. “This is significant, because it adds to the evolving evidence of the potential negative impacts of marijuana on human reproduction.”
Researchers from Tulane and the University of Washington collaborated on the study, which found a connection between low semen volume and damaged sperm produced by men who smoked marijuana. But another side effect detected from this group was that they were more likely to have greater motility, or sperm that swam faster.
Over the past decade, marijuana use has increased globally by an estimated 60 percent, the study said. It drew no conclusions as to whether the impact of male reproductive systems are widespread or lasting.
“It’s unclear if the sperm changes that take place due to marijuana use are reversible and if there’s a specific amount of time required to achieve sperm recovery following the discontinuation of marijuana smoking,” Raheem said. “Much more research as randomized studies are needed to gain a full understanding of the relationship between marijuana and male reproductive health.”
The study group was comprised of 409 men, with 174 confirming marijuana use, including 17 percent identifying as current smokers and 25 percent identifying as past smokers. The findings were published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Urology.