Smoking cannabis linked to higher sperm counts in surprising study

SHOCK The scientists found the study went against their hypothesis

SHOCK The scientists found the study went against their hypothesis

Men who had smoked marijuana had more concentrated sperm than men who had never smoked marijuana, the researchers found. Sperm concentration was almost 63 million per milliliter for men who had smoked versus only about 45 million per milliliter for those had never smoked, the team reports today in the journal Human Reproduction.

The study shocks many due to past research, which claimed that marijuana has a harmful side effect of lowering and killing off sperm count along with decreasing the testicular function.

Dr. Jorge Chavarro, Study senior author, and an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said in a statement.

"We spent a good two months redoing everything, making sure that there wasn't any error in the data", Cahvarro was quoted by Bloomberg.

Men who have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives had significantly higher concentrations of sperm compared with men who have never smoked weed, according to a new research by Harvard University. They further note that although previous studies have suggested that marijuana may have a negative effect on male reproductive health, they have mostly been animal studies or focused on men with histories of drug abuse.

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Researchers investigated the effects of marijuana on fertility, particularly in a man's sperm count.

However, the effects of more moderate marijuana use on sperm counts among men is less clear.

"The relations we see between cannabis smoking, sperm counts and testosterone levels are because men with higher testosterone, within normal levels, have higher sperm counts and are more likely to smoke cannabis", she said. For men who smoke marijuana and are planning on having children, the advice keeps getting more confusing.

He said studies in the past that suggest drug use lowers sperm count don't specify cannabis, and are usually an amalgamation of several drugs.

The study shows that the men who reported smoking marijuana had an average sperm count of 63 million sperm per milliliter of semen, in comparison to 45 million sperm per milliliter of semen among those who have never used the drug. Second, since semen quality is a poor predictor of fertility, these findings should not be interpreted as implying better fertility with cannabis use.

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Examining more than a thousand semen samples from 662 men between 2000 and 2017, the researchers found something unexpected. There were no statistically significant differences in sperm concentration between current and past cannabis smokers.

However, Chavarro noted that some of those past studies surveyed men who use multiple drugs at once, making it hard to pinpoint the effects of marijuana alone.

Additionally, the hormone levels of these men were also different. It's true that marijuana acts on the endocannabinoid system, which is known to play a role in fertility, so the authors say there could be some benefit to sperm production from low levels of marijuana use.

"These findings do not mean that using marijuana will increase sperm counts". While he's not certain of the drug's impact on male fertility, he believes it's more likely that men with higher testosterone levels will be more inclined to use marijuana.

Nassan also made a point of acknowledging that there were limitations when conducting the study and that the findings may not be totally accurate as many people may not have admitted to smoking cannabis. First, participants were only asked about smoking marijuana, not consuming it in other forms, like an edible.

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