Smoking marijuana could result in a higher sperm count, new study claims

SHOCK The scientists found the study went against their hypothesis

The research, conducted by Harvard University scientists, were looking into whether smoking cannabis has a significant link to a male's sperm count.

A study published Wednesday in Human Reproduction suggests that marijuana could potentially increase a person's sperm count.

However, the scientists pointed out that most studies have hitherto focused on heavy drug users or animals.

There's also been conflicting evidence showing that pot use among men and women has no effect on a couple's chances of conceiving.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from 662 men who, along with their partners, were evaluated for infertility from 2000 to 2017 at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center.

The study adds that men who smoke marijuana are also likely to engage in risky behavior, and those men have higher testosterone levels.

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Fifty-five per cent reported having used cannabis at some point in the past, and 11 per cent said they now used the drug. However, the new study showed that men who smoked weed had an average sperm concentration of 62.7 million sperm per millilitre (million/mL). That's a lot. At the same time, they didn't spot a difference in the sperm concentrations of men who used marijuana at the time of the questionnaire and those who had used it in the past.

Researchers have investigated whether using cannabis affects a man's fertility.

But the study does highlight how little researchers know about the effects of marijuana on reproductive health, study senior author Dr. Jorge Chavarro, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said in a statement.

However, the authors also advised caution when interpreting the findings, saying that the study does have limitations including the possibility of participants underreporting marijuana use because of its illegality during much of the period, as well as highlighting that it's unclear how much the results would extend to the general male population.

There's definitely a few caveats to take into account here. The biggest one is that the possible effects of cannabis on men visiting a fertility clinic (some of whom are likely infertile already) might not be representative of its effects on men in general. Or maybe the relationship between the two is more complicated than it looks on the surface. He said: 'As the authors point out, men with higher sperm concentrations are likely to have more testosterone in their bodies and thus may be more likely to smoke marijuana because simply they are willing to take more risks. One 2014 study surveyed almost 2,000 British men and found that men under 30 with less than four per cent normal sperm were twice as likely to have used marijuana in the past three months.

Although the findings are fascinating, the research doesn't conclude that smoking marijuana actually increases sperm count, the doctor said. If the study's enough to give guys out there with a regular weed habit a sense of relief, though, so be it. But personally, I wouldn't necessarily spring for the cannabis-enhanced lube just yet.


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