Marijuana may stem fertility in men so stop toking if you're trying for a baby

By Judy Mottl, Tech Times | June 5, 1:39 PM

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If you're toking and trying to have a baby, you might want to stop smoking pot, says a new study. Research indicates marijuana may negatively impact sperm.

If research stipulating that pot kills brain cells isn't enough to stop the weed habit, then maybe possibile infertility just may. At least for men trying to have a baby.

A research effort in sperm quality reveals smoking marijuana could change the shape and the quality of sperm and put a man's fertility at risk.

The study focused on lifestyle activities such as drinking, pot use and the impact on sperm size and shape.

"We weren't really interested in [the cannabis angle] at all," said lead researcher Dr. Alan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield in England.  "We were interested in trying to best define the risks of sperm quality.  We recruited [a couple thousand] guys, who gave us a sperm sample and allowed us to investigate aspects of their lives...It was just one of the things we asked if they did; it was no more detailed than that."

The study assessed 2,000 men from 14 fertility clinics in England and participants provided insight on medical history, lifestyle and habits.

When assessing the data and the sperm samples, the researchers discovered that the males with abnormal sperm were those who had smoked marijuana within the three months prior to providing the sperm sample.

"I do know there is some work in laboratory animals that suggests [marijuana] can affect the way the DNA in the sperm is packaged together, and that's significant," Pacey said.  "When sperm are made, the DNA they maintain has to be packaged in the head very tightly, and when that process doesn't work properly, you get an abnormal sperm.  So the cannabis is maybe interrupting that DNA folding."

The research did not find any link between abnormal sperm and other lifestyle habits such as smoking or drinking. That may be, say researchers, because the men in the study were striving to have children and may have stopped such habits.

"Cannabis smoking was more common in those men who had sperm morphology less than 4%," Pacey said. "Cannabis affects one of the processes involved in determining size and shape. And we also know that the way cannabis is metabolized is different in fertile and infertile men."

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine a third of all infertility issues are tied to the male partner.

Tech Times recently reported on another study regarding health and the use of marijuana. That study revealed that weed use may lead to an increased risk of a person suffering from sleep problems.

"The most surprising finding," said lead author Jilesh Chheda, "was that there was a strong relationship with age of first use, no matter how often people were currently using marijuana. People who started using early were more likely to have sleep problems as an adult."

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