Bu Sph Study Surveyed More Than 4000 Women In The Us And Canada
The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health , was the first to evaluate the link between fecundabilitythe average per-cycle probability of conceptionand marijuana use.
About 15 percent of couples experience infertility. Infertility costs the US healthcare system more than $5 billion per year, and thus identifying modifiable risk factors for infertility, including recreational drug use, is of public health importance. Marijuana is one of the most widely used recreational drugs among individuals of reproductive age. Previous studies have examined the effects of marijuana use on reproductive hormones and semen quality, with conflicting results.
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, says lead author Lauren Wise, BU professor of epidemiology.
In Pregnancy Study Online , a web-based prospective cohort study of North American couples, the researchers surveyed 4,194 women aged 21 to 45 living in the United States or Canada. The study specifically targeted women in stable relationships who were not using contraception or fertility treatment. Female participants were given the option to invite their male partners to participate 1,125 of their male partners enrolled.
Salma Abdalla can be reached at .
Does Marijuana Affect Fertility Get The Truth About Using Cannabis
This article was last updated May 7, 2021.
As you likely already know, smoking cigarettes during pregnancy is a big no-no. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises that pregnant and breastfeeding/chestfeeding people avoid smoking marijuana too. But what if were not thinking about getting pregnant for a while? Could enjoying marijuana now negatively impact our ability to conceive later? If marijuana use is legal, does that mean its safe before and during pregnancy?
Honestly, we don’t totally know yet because we haven’t completed as many studies as we need. That’s a pretty confusing answer, right? Unfortunately, science doesnt always have the conclusive answers we crave but given what the medical community does know, for the time being, choosing not to smoke weed if you’re trying to get pregnant is the safest approach to avoid possible health effects on conception and the fetus down the line. Experts also recommend always talking to your healthcare provider about the potential impact of your cannabis use.
We dug into the research to understand exactly where we need more data around this sometimes medicinal and sometimes recreational drug as it relates to fertility and reproductive health.
Does Smoking And/or Vaping Cause Infertility
Before we get into the ingredients themselves, lets talk about the method of consumption. Most experts agree that smoking anything isnt great for our reproductive health . Thats because the combustion of the substance creates toxins that cause oxidative stress, which negatively impacts sperm and egg health.
Vaping might seem like a cleaner option, but theres no consensus that it is a safer option at this point. Though a 2019 study indicated that cannabis vapor contains significantly fewer toxins than smoke, theres still the question of what else is in it. In fact, additives to THC-containing vapes or e-cigarettes are thought to be harmful agents.
Because we know that the number-one factor that affects egg and sperm quality is oxidative stress, for now, the recommendation is to not smoke or vape anything while TTC. So does that mean that edibles and oils are OK? Lets break down the effects of the actual THC/CBD on preconception and pregnancy.
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How Smoking Weed Affects Female Fertility
Much as cannabinoid receptors were found in sperm cells, they are present in the female ovaries, the uterine endometrium, and even the developing embryo. High levels of anandamide are necessary for successful ovulation, so it would seem at first glance that smoking weed would increase your chances of ovulation. Right?
Well, unfortunately, lower levels are advantageous for the binding of a fertilized egg to the uterine lining. The endocannabinoid system is incredibly fickle throughout the fertilization process. Tweaking the natural presence of anandamide can result in a great deal of pregnancy failure and female infertility.
Interestingly enough, the average time to conception was significantly shorter for women who had used marijuana regularly. Perhaps those females were having more sex due to the aphrodisiac effects of cannabis and, thereby, increased their chances of success?
Sperm Production And Marijuana
There may be some bad news for marijuana-loving men under 30. According to a study published in Human Reproduction in 2014, smoking marijuana regularly changes the size and shape of your sperm. Researchers from the University of Sheffield found that the chances of producing abnormally shaped sperm increases in young men that use marijuana. The abundance of abnormal sperm cells can make it challenging to reproduce.
The study is one of the largest to date exploring lifestyle impacts on fertility: 2,249 men from 14 fertility clinics around the United Kingdom were sent home with a detailed lifestyle questionnaire. Of the participants, 318 men had samples containing less than 4% normal, healthy sperm.
When researchers compared questionnaire results with samples containing mostly abnormal sperm, they found a couple of interesting things. First, samples from men who ejaculated during the summer were twice as likely to have low counts of normal sperm. If the man in question was under 30, then it was likely that he had used cannabis within three months prior to getting his little soldiers tested.
Lead author Dr. Allan Pacey said We found that cannabis doubled the risk of men under 30 having poor sperm statistically it jumped out of the analysis. I think its a real effect, and its not been shown before in such a robust way.
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Quit To Prepare For Parenthood
Obviously, if you are both smoking marijuana, you risk increasing the chances of infertility as a couple.
Quitting marijuana can be harder than many long-term marijuana users expect, so you and your partner would be wise to quit as soon as possible, while you still have time to get help before getting pregnant. If either or both parents still use marijuana when the baby arrives, you are increasing the risk that your child may use drugs in the future, and parental drug use is implicated in many difficulties for children and families.
Your family doctor can help you with a referral to a counselor or clinic that can help you both quit. Couples counseling, which is offered by many addiction clinics, would be particularly helpful at this time. If you are already engaged in infertility treatment, coming clean about your marijuana could save you a lot of time, money, and heartache, if marijuana is one of the culprits for your difficulties with conception.
How Cigarette Smoking Affects Fertility
When it comes to cigarette smoking and fertility, the science is clear: smoking is linked to higher rates of infertility. Once pregnant, smoking is a risk factor for serious complications during pregnancy and for fetal health .
Women who smoke cigarettes have higher rates of infertility and take longer to conceive. They also may experience menopause earlier earlier than those who do not smoke. Women who smoke also have an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus.
Men who smoke cigarettes may also have lower sperm counts and produce less semen than those who dont. They also have been found to have lower-quality sperm with less motility. Research shows that the more cigarettes you smoke, the lower your sperm concentration might be .
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Q: What Are The Biggest Challenges Involved With Quitting Smoking While Coping With Infertility
Dr. Vij: Infertility is an incredibly stressful situation for couples to deal with, and stress is a huge driver for smoking. So its important to find other ways to cope with stress that dont harm reproductive health.
Doctors can provide assistance in helping men and women quit smoking. There are several medications that have proven to be effective in helping people quit, including bupropion and varenicline . To get started, schedule an appointment with your doctor and ask for help.
Safety Aside There Are Also Some Legal Considerations
Dr. Luo says that even in states where marijuana is legal, some hospitals test babies after birth for drugs. If your baby tests positive for THC at birth, some states have laws that say child protective services must be notified.
Even with the sometimes conflicting findings above, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends people avoid using cannabis during pregnancy as well as while breastfeeding/chestfeeding.
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I May Already Be Pregnant Am I Too Late To Stop Smoking
No. Its never too late. Every extra day your baby develops in the womb without poisons from cigarette smoke will make a big difference to your health in pregnancy and beyond.
Stopping smoking during pregnancy reduces the risk of your baby being ill in the first month of life.
This does not mean that smoking in the first trimester is safe. The earlier you stop smoking the healthier you and your baby will be.
What Does The Science Tell Us About Marijuana And Fertility
The simple summary is that theres a lot we still dont know about marijuana and reproductive health. Ethical limitations prevent thorough studies into how cannabis impacts fertility and fetal development, so right now, the science is largely based on observational studies of cannabis users. That means we don’t have the most conclusive results. Some studies show effects from marijuana use on male and female fertility other studies dont.
As one 2020 study of marijuana and female fertility explains, Studies are limited in number, with small sample sizes, and are hampered by methodological challenges related to confounding and other potential biases.There remain critical gaps in the literature about the potential risks of cannabis use.
Research into marijuanas impact on people of reproductive age is ongoing, so its important to stay up to date and seek guidance from your provider. For now, lets explore what we do know about cannabis and reproductive health.
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Having Support Helps You Quit
Smoking is very addictive and it can be very difficult to stop, even if you really want to. But if your partner continues smoking, you are less likely to quit. Smokers who get support from family and friends are more likely to stop.
Smoking can cause fertility problems in men. It can:
- reduce the quality of semen
- cause the semen to have a lower sperm count
- affect the sperms normal swimming patterns
- cause male sexual impotence .
Marijuana Use Can Exasperate Preexisting Fertility Issues
Considering the effects marijuana can have on fertility namely reduced sperm motility and delayed ovulation it appears that marijuana could potentially exasperate any difficulties a couple may have getting pregnant.
Marijuana interferes with the normal functioning of our endocannabinoid system, and that complex biological system is involved with every aspect of fertility-ovulation, tubal transport, readying of the uterine lining, and timing and proper implantation of the embryo at the blastocyst stage, Gersh said.
Consequently, marijuana can potentially take any fertility problem and make it worse, simply by impacting all of these aspects of the reproductive system, Gersh added.
That said, previous evidence suggests that couples without fertility issues will not experience major issues conceiving if they use marijuana somewhat regularly.
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Does Smoking Marijuana Affect A Womans Chances Of Getting Pregnant My Wife Smokes Ciggarettes A Lot And Smokes A Blunt Or 2 Everyday
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A Quick Explainer On Marijuana And The Reproductive System
Your body actually has a system that mediates the effects of cannabinoids when they enter your bloodstream and helps your reproductive system function: the endocannabinoid system . Specifically, the ECS plays an important role in implantation and pregnancy maintenance. Because of this connection, researchers need to continue studying how reproductive function is impacted when the ECS and its receptors are activated by cannabis in the bloodstream, especially since results are mixed in terms of potential complications like reduced fertility and pregnancy loss.
The authors of studies researching cannabis and fertility agree that theres much more work to be done, plus a need for additional studies on humans not only our furry friends to fully understand the topic.
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So we followed the rules, but I always wondered which ones mattered most, and how much they mattered. Like, if a would-be dad had to choose one commandment, would it be more effective to ditch the monthly joint, or forgo the daily tighty-whities, since snug underwear kills sperm, too?
More recently, a Canadian Medical Association Journal review and its accompanying podcast offer new perspectives on the issue of cannabis and fertility. Its decently comprehensive, but the questions that plague most cannabis studies remain, and for the same reasons.
Conceive With Caution: How Cannabis Can Affect Fertility
The desperate years my partner and I spent tryingand failingto produce a second child were full of contrasts. On the one hand, almost everyone who hadnt experienced miscarriage or infertility themselves suggested that if we just relaxed, a baby would materialize.
On the other hand, the doctors who defined our substandard fertility had nothing relaxing to offer us. Instead, they prescribed rules and routines covering everything from diet to sex, to the precise number of daily blood draws and vaginal probe ultrasounds required to give us a shot at viable pregnancy. They also told us how much alcohol we could drink and how much cannabis we could consume .
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Does Weed Cause Female Infertility
Whether its ingested as an edible/oil or inhaled from a joint/vape, THC absorbs quickly into the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body. This includes the uterus, fallopian tubes and anterior pituitary, which all have endocannabinoid receptors.
A 2021 review highlighted the various ways that marijuana can hurt your odds when trying to conceive:
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In women, high THC doses interfere with the menstrual cycle and may delay or prevent ovulation. Cannabinoids inhibit the activity of the HPG axis, meaning that marijuana use decreases the production of several hormones and can inhibit sexual behavior if your sex drive is down, this can also hinder your efforts to conceive.
Regular smokers may have an elevated risk of not ovulating at all. A 2016 report also suggests marijuana disrupts the menstrual cycle and can lead to anovulatory cycles .
In general, its thought that marijuana can affect the production of luteinizing hormone in women. LH regulates testosterone production in men and stimulates female ovulation. When men smoke frequently, they tend to have lower levels of testosterone, and women who smoke frequently have less LH.
In addition to marijuana use, it’s important to examine other causes of late ovulation so you can put yourself in the best position for a successful pregnancy.
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Women who smoke marijuana may increase their likelihood of infertility and may be increasing their risk of a miscarriage. Marijuana crosses the placenta and may affect the fetus, although specific studies aren’t readily available on the precise impact on the baby.
You may want to abstain from marijuana or THC while pregnant or trying to get pregnant to eliminate any possible negative side effects.
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