Men who smoke cannabis have higher sperm counts, scientists puzzled

Men who smoke cannabis have higher sperm counts, scientists puzzled

Men who smoke cannabis have higher sperm counts, scientists puzzled

The researchers said the findings are not in line with previous studies, which have indicated that marijuana can have a harmful effect on men's testicular function.

The results were surprising - and show how much more there is to learn about the link between marijuana use and fertility, the scientists said.

Examining more than a thousand semen samples from 662 men between 2000 and 2017, the researchers found something unexpected.

A USA study of men seeking fertility treatment found that those who had smoked marijuana had a higher sperm concentration than those who never used the drug.

Fifty-five per cent reported having used cannabis at some point in the past, and 11 per cent said they now used the drug. Those who smoked marijuana in the past but don't now partake are more likely to have a higher sperm count than those who do.

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"This does not mean using marijuana is going to increase your sperm count", he underlined, before surmising that men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to use marijuana. And while 12 per cent of non-tokers had a low sperm count (15 million sperm per milliliter of semen or less), the same was true for only 5 per cent of cannabis users.

In an interview with Time, co-author and Harvard associate professor Dr. Jorge Chavarro, stressed that this does not mean using marijuana will increase your sperm count.

"Secondly, the study is a great opportunity to spark interest on investigating the health effects of marijuana particularly with the backdrop of increasing legalization of recreational use in the USA coupled with a greater perception that marijuana poses no health risks". The men gave sperm and blood samples, as well as answering questions about how often they smoked marijuana or used other drugs.

And yet, the study still found that men who said they used marijuana at least a year ago had higher sperm counts than men who used it more recently.

"An equally plausible interpretation is that our findings could reflect the fact that men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to engage in risk-seeking behaviours, including smoking marijuana".

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However the authors wrote that their findings may not relate to the general population, and said their study was limited by the fact they relied on the men reporting their use of cannabis accurately.

On the other hand the association could have nothing to do with the effects of cannabis. The men in the new study, however, were smoking, on average, two joints a week. Among marijuana smokers, the researchers found greater use was associated with higher serum testosterone levels.

"Our findings were contrary to what we hypothesized at the start of the study", study lead author Feiby Nassan, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in the statement.

Scientists analysed the sperm quality of regular cannabis smokers as well as non-smokers, with some unexpected results. He said: 'As the authors point out, men with higher sperm concentrations are likely to have more testosterone in their bodies and thus may be more likely to smoke marijuana because simply they are willing to take more risks.

Past researches, which involved animal experiments and men with a drug abuse history, suggested that weed can weaken the male reproductive system.

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