Marijuana is an illegal drug that comes from Cannabis sativa, a hemp plant. It is probably the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. and it goes by many names, weed and pot being the most common. The dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds of the plant are often smoked and it may also be added to tea and food.
A study conducted at Buffalo University showed that men who smoke marijuana damage their fertility in many different ways.
While occasional use of this drug may not be very harmful, smoking pot is known to have various effects on your health including an increase in your heart rate, increase in blood pressure, distorted sense of time, and anxiety and depression. In the long run, it may also cause lung cancer.
However, what many people do not know is that smoking weed can actually affect fertility. In fact, a study conducted at Buffalo University showed that men who smoke marijuana damage their fertility in many different ways. Let’s explore the findings of this study and see how marijuana can make you infertile.
How weed affects your fertility rates?
Researchers found that men smoking weed tend to produce less seminal fluid and have a low sperm count. And that’s not all, these men also have sperm that are shaped abnormally and the swimming capacity of the sperm is also negatively affected.
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC may be the culprit
Weed contains THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which may disrupt the way the sperm swim. In normal males, the motility of a sperm cell is considered to be good if it swims in a forward and straight direction quickly. In men who smoke weed, these sperm do not swim in a proper fashion.
Studies have shown that high levels of THC stimulate key receptors in human sperm. This makes them swim abnormally, that is, they swim too fast and too early. This reduces their capability to attach to an egg and fertilize it.
Keep in mind that a sperm should swim quickly as it nears an egg since it increases its chances of fertilization. However, if it begins to swim too quickly too soon, it tends to burnout and may just die before it reaches an egg.
Changes in the sperm enzyme cap further reduce chances of fertilization
Studies have also found that exposure to high levels of THC also cause changes in the sperm enzyme cap, which is referred to as acrosome. It was found that the normal vigorous swimming patterns of the sperm tend to change because of this and they are not able to attach to an egg and cause fertilization.
Low sperm count
The study also showed that the volume of seminal fluid is much lower in men who smoke pot as compared to men who don’t. The seminal fluid contains nutrients and fluid that give the required energy and strength to the sperm to be able to make it all the way up to the fallopian tube of a woman and fertilize an egg.
The sperm count of these men was also found to be much lower than those of non-smokers. The lower the sperm count the lower will be the chances of a sperm fertilizing an egg.
Men with low fertility are at special risk
The study researchers also noted that marijuana may not cause infertility in all men. Some men using pot may be able to father a child. However, it does reduce their chances of conceiving.
Men who are on the borderline of fertility may be the ones who are especially at risk if they smoke pot. The study noted that the THC from marijuana may actually push them further towards infertility causing them to have difficulties in conceiving.
The researchers said that a definite answer could not be given as to whether the fertility gets back to normal in men who stop smoking weed. However, they did say that THC remains stored in fat cells for a long period of time. So, even if the fertility rates were to return to near normal, it may take a long time. These men may also not be able to conceive at all even after quitting smoking.
Advice for men who want to conceive
It is very difficult to say whether you are on the borderline as far as fertility is concerned. However, one thing is for sure, smoking pot does reduce seminal fluid, lower sperm count, cause the shape of the sperm to be distorted, and make the sperm swim way too fast too soon.
So, if you really want to conceive, stay away from marijuana. It may help to get a semen analysis done to check if your sperm count is normal and they are shaped correctly and are swimming properly.
If you are a regular smoker, it is time to give up the weed to increase your chances of conceiving.
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