(Disclaimer: SwimCountTM does not approve nor recommend usage of drugs of any kind)
Marijuana or cannabis is one of the most used illicit drugs worldwide. Something that most people have tried in their teens with friends at a party, taking it for medical reasons or simply just to relax. It can be fun, it can be relaxing, and it can be a lifestyle, but have you thought about what happens with your sperm quality if you smoke more than once a week?
First let us find out what this drug actually is. National Institute on Drug Abuse describes marijuana as a greenish-colored mixture of dried Cannabis sativa plant, with the most active ingredients in the flower part, but when sold it is a mixture of leaves, seeds, flowers and stems of the plant. It is being consumed in different variations as in rolled cigarettes, water pipes or mixed in with food.
Even in some countries marijuana is a legalized drug or is being used for medical purposes, it can have an impact on the man’s sperm quality as this drug is globally much more used by men than women. Based on a research done in Denmark, the sperm is making machinery able to recognize the active ingredients in marijuana inside the body. It has been found that the endocannabinoids, molecules naturally produced by the body that have an impact on our mood, immune system, memory and more, occurs in the testicles and sperm cells. Those molecules are similar to cannabinoids, chemical compounds in cannabis.
An affiliate professor from the University of Copenhagen, Niels Skakkebæk, Ph.D., says that decreased semen quality has been found among young Danish men, that smokes marijuana more than once a week, as the endocannabinoid system reacts to cannabinoids. It was found to lower the sperm concentration and the sperm count. The results are even poorer when marijuana is used with other recreational drugs.
In conclusion even as the chemical compounds in cannabis are connected to the sperm production thanks to the endocannabinoid system, an occasional use of marijuana might not have a significant negative impact on sperm cells but it can, especially if the user already has a LOW sperm quality or some pre-existing health issues and therefore it is better to “stay safe” and rather have a beer instead. When cannabis is being used more than once a week for longer than 3 months periods, the effect on sperm quality can be major. Based on the results of spermatogenesis it was shown to significantly lower total sperm count and motility.
 Lewis S.E., Paro R., Borriello L., Simon L., Robinson L., Dincer Z. Long-term use of HU210 adversely affects spermatogenesis in rats by modulating the endocannabinoid system. Int J Androl. 2012;35:731–740. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
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