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.
Despite the relaxation effects that many people associate with marijuana use, research has shown marijuana has negative effects on the male sexual response.
Although the link between marijuana and fertility is not straightforward—plenty of marijuana smokers get pregnant and get their partners pregnant—some research has demonstrated that marijuana use can negatively impact you, your partner, or the fertility of both of you.
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Furthermore, the effects of marijuana on fertility seem to accumulate over time. This means that although teenage girls who smoke marijuana are more likely to get pregnant, by the time a chronic marijuana smoking woman is in her mid-twenties, she may be more likely to experience a delay in getting pregnant.
Obviously, if you are both smoking marijuana, you risk increasing the chances of infertility as a couple.
Research suggests that marijuana can negatively affect female fertility in the following ways:
Asked if there is a risk that as cannabis is decriminalized and legalized people will see it as safe and be less wary of the potential harms, Ian Hamilton of the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York recently told Newsweek: “There is a potential risk that these policy changes are perceived by young people and adults as signalling that cannabis is harmless.”
As U.S. states, including Alaska and Colorado, and countries, including Canada, legalize marijuana, scientists are working to understand the threat this could pose to users’ health.
Using weed is thought to reduce sperm count, for instance. One study involving 1,215 men found that 130 individuals who smoked marijuana more than once a week in the past three months saw a cut in production of the total sperm count of 29 percent. But the cells were still able to swim and were the same size and shape in this study.
Evidence suggests the psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant— tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—activates cannabinoid receptors in a system in the body which includes the internal reproductive organs, explained scientists who presented existing studies on potential harm caused by the drug in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
“For most couples, smoking marijuana does not affect their ability to conceive,” the authors said. But the drug could pose problems for some with existing issues. They cited a U.S. survey that didn’t find a link between struggling to conceive and smoking weed for less than once a month to every day.
As well as the article, the scientists also released a Soundcloud podcast.
“However, for couples with infertility, the changes in ovulatory function and sperm count associated with smoking marijuana could compound their difficulty with conceiving,” they wrote.
“The reason men have millions of sperm is because the fertility process is more difficult than people think,” Dominguez tells WebMD. “The whole process of ascending up the tract to the fallopian tubes and then finding the egg is delicately balanced.”
Oct. 13, 2003 — Smoking marijuana makes sperm less fertile — even if the woman is the one who smokes it, a new study shows.
Marijuana-smoking college men volunteered for the study led by Lani J. Burkman, PhD, director of andrology at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Marijuana and Fertility Timing
“The marijuana-smoking men had significantly lower semen volume,” Burkman says. “Many had pretty low volume, about half the male norm. If they came to our clinic as patients, we’d tell them they are abnormal. . They are delivering significantly fewer sperm to the female when they have sexual intercourse.”
“Marijuana-smoking men’s sperm are hyper. They are way out there,” Burkman tells WebMD. “They already have begun the vigorous swimming called hyperactivation. Sperm should be quiet at first. They should be waiting to be washed into cervix and approach the egg before they start hyperactivation.”
As the sperm approaches the egg, it receives a signal to start swimming — hard. This hyperactivation lets it push through the egg cover. Pooped out sperm don’t have a chance. Learn about more ways marijuana can affect fertility.
So the little guys are fast out of the gate, right? What’s wrong with a little head start?