Can Marijuana Seeds Prevent Pregnancy

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According to a recent study, reported on in Forbes magazine, the chemicals in marijuana may prevent pregnancy by making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. Interesting, if not conflicting, research has recently been published on the topic of marijuana and infertility. Here, our experts take a closer look. Find out if smoking marijuana will get in the way of getting pregnant

Marijuana As Birth Control?

According to a recent study, reported on in Forbes magazine, the chemicals in marijuana may prevent pregnancy by making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

Dey, the Dorothy Overall Wells professor of pediatrics, cell and developmental biology and pharmacology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and his colleagues conducted their experiments in mice. It’s known that marijuana, the most widely used illegal drug among women of childbearing age, binds to two receptors, called cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and 2). These receptors are found in the brain and also in sperm, eggs and newly formed embryos.

Typically, the two receptors are activated by a signaling molecule called anandamide, which is synthesized by an enzyme known as NAPE-PLD and then is degraded by another enzyme called FAAH. This balance, or “tone,” of the anandamide is crucial for the embryo to develop normally.

Dey and his team suppressed FAAH activity in the mice. This increased the level of anandamide, which mimics what happens when a woman smokes marijuana and increases the level of THC, which binds to the same receptor as anandamide. The results showed that when FAAH activity is suppressed in the embryos and oviduct, anandamide levels rise, preventing the embryos from completing their passage to the uterus and compromising the pregnancy.

“This is a major finding,” said Dey, “that if you block FAAH and disturb anandamide levels, there is a compromised pregnancy outcome.”

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In an accompanying commentary in the journal, Herbert Schuel, professor emeritus of anatomy and cell biology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, said the Dey study findings “show that exogenous THC can swamp endogenous anandamide signaling systems,” affecting many processes in the body.

And Schuel offered another warning: Several drugs in development to suppress appetite work by modifying anandamide signaling. Since many women of reproductive age take weight-loss drugs, he suggested that these drugs must be carefully evaluated to determine the long-term effects on women.

The point that the article didn’t touch on, and that interests me, is that these scientists have touched on a non-hormonal birth control. I wonder if this will be picked up on by a pharmaceutical company.

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this has already been studied a bit in research labs, and the ‘cure’ for hormonal birth control pills is still a long way away (if even possible through cannabinoid mediated mechanisms). From what I heard in a recent discussion, it’s not even close to 100% effective (and there’s no assurance that a cannabinoid based brith control would ever be fully efffective) and no one wants birth control that works 75% of the time. Maybe a few more years will find a way to make this a safer form of birth control. Also i’ve heard that smoking the ganja lowers sperm count, lowering the chance of pregnancy somewhat as well (though i’ve heard this just enough times to make me think it might be an urban legend, I’ll have to check later today).

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No no, they got it all wrong. It works as birth control for the following reason:
Him: Let’s do it! Nyahhhh! (stoner laugh)
Her: Alright. That’s cool.
pause
Him: What were we gonna do?
Her: I don’t know. Smoke some more hash?
Him: Nyahhhh. you said HASH. H-AAAAASH.
Her: My hands feel like birds. Hands are soooo cooollll.
both pass out

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Hmm. I wonder if the herb once used, and wiped out by, the Greeks (or was it Romans..) did that. Would love to see the reaction of the anti-choice movement to someone making a food supliment, unregulatable by the FDA, that just happened to work as a contraceptive as well. Assuming of course that other side effects didn’t arise.

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“Her: I don’t know. Smoke some more hash?”

who on the cosmic muffin’s green earth still uses the word HASH?

Aside from you Brandon, of course.

I don’t think that weed would kill sex drive at all.

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Haaaaash. Nyaaahhhahah.
Wait, why was I responding?

(j/k. I’ve heard say it plenty. Maybe it is a region specific preference, like soda, coke, pop, etc. hash is more surfer-ie. Weed is kinda high school or ghetto. Mary Jane is reserved for those over 40. Pot is a harsh word – too abrupt. Marijuana is what you call it in health class. A joint is a single object, as is a bowl, so wouldn’t work in the sentence. And my point wasn’t that it killed sex drive, just that they forgot they wanted to have sex. Grrr.. explained jokes never work. Bah humbug to you, sir!)

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Well I got it just fine. I think. my hands are birds. yesssss parrots. SQUAWK.

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Isn’t there some urban myth about weed decreasing sperm count? Killing two birds (or hands) with one stone (pun not intended, but definitely appreciated).

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Nyahahaaaa. you said stone.
.
.
Wait, what?

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There will be no discussion of killing birds on this here site. 🙂

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RPM, there was a 1978 paper, from Europe I think, that first kicked off this idea that smoking weed decreased sperm count (sperm density is a more accurate term). Lots of confounding variables that confuse the issue, and the subjects were called, “heavy users.” A group at SUNY Buffalo did, indeed, show in 1998 that physiologically-relevant THC interferes with fertilization via inhibiting acrosomal fusion with the egg – seems that endogenous anandamide is a positive modulator of sperm-egg fusion and THC can antagonize that positive effect.

However, even cigarette smoking can also lower sperm count. Moreover, THC is a potential steroid-mimetic in that it influences LH, testosterone, and prolactin levels; hence, heavy partakers of the blessed herb who are male can sometimes develop gynecomastia – haven’t yet heard of a similar effect in women, but must have been studied by pharma or academics because of potential blockbuster (pun intended) lifestyle drug formulation. Don’t know if a THC breast cream would be as dangerous as estrogen breast creams, the latter of which should never, ever, never, be used by young women due to a logical increased risk of breast cancer.

BTW, anandamide is intentionally taken from the Sanskrit word, ananada, meaning ‘bliss.’

But, enough, for now. I should be doing a proof on a certain young professor’s grant application! BTW, Shelleba, you make some really great observations and scientific assocaitions outside your primary field that would make you a valuable contributor in pharma. or if you want to start a dietary supplement company!

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Marijuana and Infertility: What You Need to Know

All information on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

For decades, there has been an ongoing discussion regarding cannabis and infertility. Numerous anecdotal outlets have cited decreased fertility rates among cannabis users (especially a decline in sperm count in males), but is there any clinical or scientific evidence to back up these claims?

In this article, we discuss relevant contemporary research relating to the topic. We’ll also discuss whether “marijuana infertility” is truly a concern. Read on to find out more.

Does Marijuana Cause Infertility?

There is a body of evidence suggesting that marijuana causes infertility. However, even more concerning is relatively recent research that suggests that fertility, especially in males — may be declining overall.

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A study published in Human Reproductive Update in 2017 identified a potentially key issue. It looked at 7,500 studies performed from 1973 to 2011. The researchers found that men from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America had an almost 60% decline in sperm count. They also had a sperm concentration decline of 52%.

Researchers offered several hypotheses attributed to the decline in semen quality. These include:

  • Increase exposure to pesticides
  • Meta-changes in diet
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to higher-temperature climates
  • Meta-changes in Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Other lifestyle/environmental factors

A major underlying concern, particularly given evidence that cannabis use is on the rise (as well as evidence that smoking tobacco affects fertility), is whether or not marijuana causes infertility. Another is whether cannabis use may have a variable impact on males’ and females’ fertility and reproduction potential.

Potential Impact of Cannabis Use on Female Fertility

Data regarding the relationship between female infertility and marijuana use is limited. However, a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health in 2016 suggests that smoking cannabis can delay a woman’s ovulation by several days.

Furthermore, a separate study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that cannabinoids can alter hormone secretion related to reproductive function. Authors suggest that cannabinoids, specifically THC, can “inhibit secretion of LH, FSH, [and] prolactin,” resulting in “decreases in sex steroid hormones [as well as] changes in ovulation.”

However, the researchers observed that these effects are reversible when cannabis use is ceased.

Still, most experts recommend that pregnant women and women who are considering becoming pregnant – avoid the use of cannabis altogether both during and before pregnancy. This recommendation is more pressing than ever, as cannabis use among young reproductive-aged women is rising.

In fact, according to currently available statistics, upwards of 8% of non-pregnant reproductive-aged women use cannabis on a relatively consistent basis. As authors of the above publication observe, “prenatal marijuana exposure [can be] associated with poor offspring outcomes,” including an increased prevalence of conditions like low birth weight and impaired brain development.

What About Male Fertility? Does Cannabis Reduce Sperm Count?

Another pressing concern – and an ongoing topic of debate circulating for decades – is whether or not marijuana can cause male infertility.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2015 appears to suggest that it can. The study observed over 1,200 Danish men aged 18-28, 45% of which had smoked cannabis in the previous three months. Twenty-eight percent of study participants used marijuana more than once a week. The study discovered that those who used cannabis regularly had a 29% reduction in sperm count.

The answer may shock you!…

However, a study published in Human Reproduction in 2019 appears to contradict the research above. This study, which took place over 17 years from 2000 to 2017, examined 1,100 semen samples from male patients enrolled in the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. The study found that cannabis users had a higher sperm count per milliliter of ejaculate (62.7 million sperm compared to 45.4 million in non-cannabis users). Only 5% of cannabis-using test subjects had sperm count levels considered low (below 15 million per milliliter).

Based on the availability of contemporary research data, the impact of cannabis use on male fertility is still largely inconclusive.

Additional Research on Weed and Infertility

Another interesting publication on the broader topic of weed and infertility appeared in 2018 in the peer-reviewed academic journal Fertility and Sterility.

In the study, researchers analyzed nearly 2,000 male and female participants that were trying to conceive. Eleven-and-a-half percent of women admitted to using cannabis during this period, along with 16.5% of men. The study results suggested that cannabis use did not have a negative impact on the time it took for couples to become pregnant.

Again, however, it is highly recommended that cannabis use be avoided among individuals trying to conceive.

Bottom Line on Marijuana and Infertility

The general discrepancy in the observations made from these above-referenced studies means we can’t draw any firm conclusions regarding the ongoing debate of marijuana and infertility. Without a doubt, more research needs to be done on the topic.

Unfortunately, there are still challenges associated with carrying out quality cannabis-based research.

At present, cannabis is only fully legal (on a national level) in Canada and Uruguay. This means that federal research funding for cannabis studies is still difficult for many global research organizations.

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Regardless of whether or not marijuana causes infertility, it is best to avoid the consumption of cannabis altogether for those trying to conceive. Likewise, pregnant women should always steer clear of any form of cannabis use.

Will using marijuana affect our chances of getting pregnant?

It may. Some studies have shown that using marijuana repeatedly is associated with significantly lower concentrations of reproductive hormones in both men and women.

Lower concentrations of the hormone testosterone may result in decreased sperm counts in men. And lower dehydroepiandrosterone may affect egg production in women.

In addition, THC (one of the active ingredients in pot) makes its way into the reproductive tract of women using marijuana and reduces sperm mobility, decreasing the chances of fertilization.

Perhaps the best reason to give up drugs now is that it’s not safe to use pot during pregnancy.

Some studies suggest that using marijuana regularly during pregnancy puts your baby at higher risk for premature birth and low birth weight. And because smoking weed (or tobacco) increases carbon monoxide levels in the bloodstream, the baby gets less oxygen, which may affect his growth.

Other studies show that children exposed to marijuana in their mothers’ wombs have different brain activity and more disturbed sleeping patterns as toddlers. They may also eventually suffer from depression or have behavior problems, such as impulsiveness and attention deficits. And some studies point to a link between prenatal marijuana exposure and lower school test scores.

Plus, it can be difficult to tell if the pot you’re getting is pure. It may be contaminated with other drugs or herbicides that could put your baby-to-be at even greater risk. Even legal dispensaries are not closely regulated, although some claim that their products have been approved or certified.

If you use pot, I suggest waiting a month or so after your last hit before trying to conceive since it takes that long to get all traces of the drug out of your system.

If you’re using marijuana for medicinal purposes, talk with your healthcare provider about your plans to become pregnant. She may be able to suggest a safer alternative.

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Burkman LJ, et al. 2003. Marijuana impacts sperm function both in vivo and in vitro: Semen analyses from men smoking marijuana. Fertility and Sterility 80(3):231. http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282%2803%2901534-6/fulltext [Accessed June 2016]

Fried PA, et al. 2003. Differential effects on cognitive functioning in 13- to 16-year-olds prenatally exposed to cigarettes and marihuana. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 25(4):427-36.

Goldschmidt L, et al. 2008. Prenatal marijuana exposure and intelligence test performance at age 6. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolesceny Psychiatry 47(3):254-63. [Accessed June 2016]

Goldschmidt L, et al. 2004. Prenatal marijuana and alcohol exposure and academic achievement at age 10. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 26(4):521–32. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15203174 [Accessed June 2016]

Goldschmidt L, et al. 2000. Effects of prenatal marijuana exposure on child behavior problems at age 10. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 22(3):325-36.

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