It has long been rumored that smoking cannabis can have an adverse effect on couples who are attempting to get pregnant. And although there hasn’t been enough concrete evidence to fully support this, we have to ask. Does marijuana affect fertility? While past studies have suggested that marijuana can negatively affect the potency of sperm, there hasn’t been a whole lot of research done due to cannabis’ lingering status as a Schedule I narcotic.
Cannabis has become more prevalent through legalization and advocation. And so, there have been additional studies regarding its effects on fertility. The most recent ones come from researchers at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). And the results aren’t quite what you would expect.
Does Marijuana Affect Fertility?
So does marijuana affect fertility? According to the study recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH), it does not.
The new study, which is the first to evaluate the link between fecundability, or the average per-menstrual cycle probability of conception and cannabis usage, found that there is no correlation between smoking marijuana and infertility.
Pre-existing infertility issues plaguing Americans today is the root of the study’s purpose. Close to 15 percent of American couples have trouble conceiving. And fertility treatments cost the U.S. healthcare system an upwards of $5 billion dollars per year. Naturally, researchers sought to find alternative ways to lower those figures—including analyzing recreational drug use.
And what recreational ‘drug’ is more popular than cannabis?
The researchers surveyed 4,194 women aged 21 to 45 living in the United States or Canada. They were all in stable relationships and weren’t using any fertility treatments. The women were also invited to ask their male partners if they would like to be a part of the study. 1,125 of them obliged.
The study lasted from 2013 to 2017. Over its course, researchers found that around 12 percent of the women and 14 percent of men used cannabis. After following up with the couples 12 times after the initial survey, researchers found there was a similar probability of pregnancy in the couples that used cannabis as those that did not.
Final Hit: Does Marijuana Affect Fertility In Women Or Men?
Researchers credited the increasing legality of cannabis for the opportunity to conduct such a thorough investigation.
“Given the increasing number of states legalizing recreational marijuana across the nation, we thought it was an opportune time to investigate the association between marijuana use and fertility,” said the study’s lead author Lauren Wise, professor of epidemiology.
However, researchers did note that additional questions regarding cannabis use and fertility remain. This was largely due to the fact that the study relied on self-reported data, which can prove unreliable. Additionally, it was unclear whether or not the couples reporting marijuana smoked regularly, or it was just a one-time thing.
Regardless, the researchers believed that their study has opened the door for future, more in-depth fertility investigations.
“Future studies with day-specific data on marijuana use might better be able to distinguish acute from chronic effects of marijuana use, and evaluate whether effects depend on other factors,” the researchers noted.