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Marijuana and Fertility: Can Getting High Make Couples Infertile?

Marijuana and Fertility: Can Getting High Make Couples Infertile?

For couples struggling with conception, smoking marijuana may send your chances of having a baby up in smoke.

From 1993’s Dazed and Confused to 2004’s Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle to Ted (2012), getting stoned has long been a favorite Hollywood shortcut to dumbed-down, cheap-shot humor. But for couples struggling with conception, smoking weed isn’t a joke—it can send their chances of having a baby up in smoke.

In an article published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), researchers say they want docs and patients trying to conceive to be aware that smoking marijuana may make it more difficult. How?

  1. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, acts on receptors in men’s and women’s hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and reproductive organs, making it more difficult to conceive.
    In women, the hypothalamus produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which leads to a cascade of other hormones needed for ovulation and to prepare the uterus for a fertilized egg. Pituitary problems can contribute to ED in men and infertility in women.
  2. Another problem: Decreased sperm count. A Danish study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found smoking marijuana more than once a week reduced sperm count by 29 percent in guys 18 to 28 years old.
  3. Marijuana may delay or prevent ovulation—if smoked more than three times in the past three months.

One more caution: Authors of a study called “Not Your Mother’s Marijuana,” published in Clinical Perinatology, point out that if you’re pregnant and smoke today’s super-powered weed, prenatal exposure to marijuana can result in problems with your child’s executive functioning skills, attention, behavior, and school achievement later on in life.

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