Experts recommend that you avoid using marijuana while trying to conceive.
Around 15% of couples worldwide are believed to be infertile. The reasons for infertility have been related to anatomy, infection and advanced age.
Many recreational drugs, including marijuana, have been found to decrease fertility in both men and women, but there isn’t enough research to say exactly how the drug relates to reproductive health.
Before more research is done into how marijuana can affect fertility, it is best to abstain from using marijuana while trying to conceive.
How Does Marijuana Affect Male Fertility?
Studies show that marijuana has a negative impact on male fertility.
Many scientists believe that consuming phytocannabinoids like THC can upset the body’s natural cannabinoid system.
Men who consume marijuana have been found to have a lower sperm count, lower sperm concentration, and changes to their testosterone levels. Activation of the CB1 receptor has also been found to decrease the speed and viability of sperm.
A 2009 study also found that THC can damage sperm by blocking their ability to consume oxygen.
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with many health benefits. But it may be harmful for fertility, as well.
It is not clear whether these studies done in cells apply in real life. THC may harm sperm in a petri dish, but whether this actually makes it harder to conceive is still up for debate.
How Does Marijuana Affect Female Fertility?
Like much of the research on male reproduction, many scientific studies show that THC can disrupt the natural endocannabinoid balance in the female reproductive system.
The endocannabinoid system is very closely linked to female reproduction, and is involved at every stage of reproductive system from embryo to birth.
A 2016 study found that marijuana may reduce the ability for women to release eggs during the menstrual cycle.
Cannabinoids like THC can also affect cell division, meaning that marijuana can interfere with normal fetal development, according to a 2017 study. A 2018 study also found that THC can have a negative effect on early stages of pregnancy.
One of the few studies of marijuana and reproduction in a living being was done in rhesus monkeys. The researchers found that the monkeys had no trouble conceiving after taking THC daily for 5 years.
Some scientists also believe that once people develop a tolerance to marijuana, they will no longer be sensitive to any harmful effects of the drug on their fertility.
However, the safest choice is to abstain from using marijuana while trying to conceive, especially since marijuana use is not recommended during pregnancy.
Can Marijuana Help Fertility?
Most of the evidence suggests marijuana has a negative impact on fertility. However, it may help couples get pregnant by enhancing their sexual motivation.
A 1981 study found that small amounts of marijuana can enhance sexual activity. By having sex more often, couples are more likely to get pregnant.
A 2017 study also found that marijuana users tend to have more sex than non-users, although the researchers did note that this relationship is correlational and needs more study.
Some people do find that marijuana can act as an aphrodisiac. There is also some science that backs up the idea that small amounts of marijuana can increase sexual desire and enjoyment.
Research has found that larger amounts of marijuana may decrease sexual motivation.
The Bottom Line
Many studies suggest marijuana can harm fertility, but there are no studies in humans that show a direct link between marijuana use and infertility.
Despite this, it’s still a good idea to abstain if you are trying for a baby. Doctors recommend you stop consuming marijuana 3 months before trying to conceive.
It is always best to talk honestly with your doctor about any drug use when you are trying to get pregnant.