Thinking of having a baby? The relationship between cannabis and fertility is complicated, but the results aren’t. Here’s how men and women are affected by cannabis use.
Cannabis Effects on Men’s Fertility
Obviously conception requires both male and female contributions. In instances where there is an issue conceiving, the first person we look at is the male. Tests for male fertility are simpler and quicker. Cannabis’ effect on male fertility is pretty interesting.
Research has shown that cannabis consumption can decrease sperm count, concentration, functionality and shape. All these lead to a decrease in the sperms ability to fertilize. In animal studies, the findings are a little stronger and include testicular atrophy and decreased sex drive. It’s important to note that these latter findings have not been reproduced in human subjects.
Cannabis Effects on Women’s Fertility
In females, research has shown an association between cannabis use and disruptions in the ovulatory cycle. This can include missed periods (anovulation) and cycles of abnormal length an intensity. These findings are the result of the effect cannabinoids; both endogenous and exogenous (from weed) can have on the hormones that regulate the ovulatory cycle.
There is a regulating mechanism called the hypothalamus- pituitary- ovarian axis that regulates female sex hormone production and release. In animal and human models cannabis has been shown to decrease the production of hormones beginning at the hypothalamus which have an end result of decreased production of hormones like follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen and progesterone all of which are vital to the creating the environment for conception and viability of an embryo.
In summation, the ability to conception from both the male and female standpoint can be inhibited by cannabis although this has been mostly supported by data obtained from animal models.