Male infertility is an issue that is affecting most men in the world. It accounts for 40% to 50% infertility. The rate of male infertility currently stands at 7%. According to research, the causes of it are defects in the levels of the spermatic fluids. There have been speculations that marijuana has effects on the male reproductive system.
According to statistics, marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs by men in the western world. In some countries, the use of the drug has not been legalized, whereas, in other countries, it has been legalized for use for medical purposes. According to the statistics, whether used legally or not, the rates of use have gradually risen. The increasing numbers of infertility calls for attention to determine whether or not there are adverse effects of marijuana on the male reproductive system of its users.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana, scientifically referred to as cannabis, is a psychotropic substance, which is gotten from the cannabis plant, and is used mainly for medicinal and leisure purposes. The main component present in marijuana is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabiol (THC).
How does marijuana work?
When consumed, the drug tampers with the normal functioning of the brain and the central nervous system. By virtue of altering the normal functioning of the brain, (THC) particularly tampers with the hypothalamus, which directly affects the secretion of hormones. Continuous use of marijuana ha several cognitive effects. It has been rumoured that the use of the drug could also change the quantity of male reproductive cells. Whether this is true or not, entirely depends on the pre-existing research on the latter.
How does marijuana work according to the research?
For years, this controversial research has been going on to prove whether the claims are valid. There is research that was conducted in 2015 to confirm the allegations. According to the results of the study, those people who smoked the drug more than once per week had the highest percentage of reduced sperm count and sperm concentration. As compared to cigarette smokers, marijuana smokers had nearly the same sperm count as that of cigarette smokers. The research also pointed out that marijuana smokers were associated with a 28% decrease in sperm count.
Another research that was conducted by the University of Buffalo to determine whether there was an impact on the sperm count after taking marijuana. The volunteers of this research were proven to be fertile and had produced at least one pregnancy. The other condition that the volunteers met was that they were not sexually active, two days prior to the research. The volunteers had been subjected to the drug for fourteen times a week, for the previous five years.
When the tests were done to determine their spermatic fluid, and the results stated that the volunteers who had smoked marijuana had a lower sperm count in their spermatic fluid. The tests also proved that the levels of sperm hyperactivation (HA), had reduced. This meant that their sperms could not swim to fertilize an egg.
In another research that was conducted to compare the sperm counts of marijuana smokers to that of the non-smokers, the figures that were attained proved that the smokers had a 28% reduced sperm concentration and a 29% reduced sperm count.
Another research that was conducted recently showed that marijuana could be used to treat infertility in men, by activation of CB2 receptors. The same study insisted that prolonged use of the drug would, however, result in a subdue in the production of testosterone.
In a different research that was conducted, the results differed with those of most of the previous ones. The results proved that the sperm concentration for the men who smoked marijuana was higher than that of those who had never smoked at all. According to the same study, there was an insignificant difference in the sperm count for current users as compared to former users. However, the volunteers for this study had issues with fertility; hence, it made the results and conclusions of the study unreliable.
Can we conclude that marijuana smoking causes a reduced sperm count?
So much research has been done on the latter. The results of the research are conflicting; therefore, it is difficult to pick a stand. There have been limitations in some of these studies, like for the one that was done on men who were suffering from infertility issues. To add to it, marijuana is not legal in most countries; hence, there is a probability of under-reporting by the volunteers.
Some researchers, however, argued that using the drug in small levels might cause an increase in the production of sperms, hence increase the rates of fertility. The same study showed that the use of the drug at higher levels could have a negative effect on the sperm count and lead to infertility. There is a proof that high levels of marijuana smoking can cause adverse effects on reproductive health is enough to call for alarm. Marijuana smokers are, therefore, advised to exercise some caution and moderation while smoking the herb.
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