Marijuana Users Have Higher Sperm Counts, Harvard Study Finds

“Men who had ever smoked marijuana had significantly higher sperm concentration than men who had never smoked marijuana” according to a recent study published in Human Reproduction.

“It’s time to have an honest conversation about marijuana,” Jeff Hunt, Director of the Centennial Institute, said.

Researchers analyzed that men who had ever smoked marijuana had higher sperm concentration and total sperm count, lower prevalence of sperm parameters below the WHO reference values, and lower FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) concentrations than men who had never smoked marijuana.

Marijuana consumption associated with significantly higher concentrations of testosterone, SHBG and inhibin-B. These results are consistent with a direct pro-spermatogenic testicular effect and secondary compensation in FSH secretion.

The persons with past marijuana consumption history have higher sperm count and FSH than those with current users.

Furthermore, the marijuana consumers with longer duration since last use have higher sperm count.

The study, authored by a third-party firm QREM, estimates $381 million is lost through hospitalizations, $83 million through car accidents and $423 million through dropouts.

The cannabis industry rejected most of the report.

“It appears the Centennial Institute wants to shame consumers of marijuana,” Peter Marcus, a spokesman with Terrapin Care Station, a dispensary chain, said.

Marcus argues the report is largely based on assumptions – pointing to a recent state report by the Department of Public Safety that in his opinion mentioned only a handful of negative impacts.

Researchers found that marijuana used by 20 joint-years was associated with higher concentrations of serum testosterone concentrations by 8%.

A survey found that 55 percent of men reported ever smoking marijuana in their lifetimes, and 11 percent said that they currently smoked marijuana.

However, researchers also observed that people who stopped smoking tended to have slightly higher sperm counts than current pot smokers.

“These unexpected findings from our study highlight that we know too little about the reproductive health effects of cannabis and, in fact, of the health effects in general, to make strong statements about the impact of cannabis and, in fact, of the health effects in general, to make strong statements about the impact of cannabis on health, with the possible exception of mental health,” said Jorge Chavaro, lead researcher and associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard.

“An equally plausible interpretation is that our findings could reflect the fact that men with higher testosterone level are more likely to engage in risk-seeking behaviors, including smoking marijuana,” said Feiby Nassan, an environmental health and nutrition researcher at Harvard.

“An equally important limitation is the fact that most of the data were collected while cannabis was illegal in Massachusetts, so it is difficult to know to what extent men may have under-reported use of cannabis because of social stigma or potential consequences related to insurance coverage for infertility services,” said Dr. Nassan.

“Our results need to be interpreted with caution and they highlight the need to further study the health effects of marijuana use.”

Marijuana laws and regulations are expected to intensify in 2019 as current regulations sunset and a marijuana friendly governor takes office with Jared Polis.

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