New Study Links Marijuana Use to Lower Sperm Count

Reduced fertility was observed among men who currently smoke cannabis or did so in the past
19 August 2021
2 min read
New Study Links Marijuana Use to Lower Sperm Count

Men who are current or past marijuana smokers are more likely than non-smokers to have lower sperm count and higher sperm abnormalities, a recent study found. The researchers also concluded that there was at least one positive consequence of marijuana use for the male reproductive system — the substance significantly increases the speed at which the sperm moves.

Marijuana Effects on Fertility Slowly Come into Focus

Earlier findings from research in China and elsewhere have suggested a link between marijuana use and male infertility. However, it was unclear what the influence of the substance can be and how significant. At the same time, this is a major concern because marijuana consumption rates have increased by 60% in the recent decade.

Scientists from the University of Washington and Tulane University decided to study the possible influence of marijuana on human reproduction in urology patients. They performed the study in Washington state where the adult use of the substance was legalized in 2012.

The researchers asked 409 men about their substance use and compared the results to their semen tests. 17% of the respondents identified themselves as current smokers while another 25% said they had smoked marijuana in the past. Both the current and the past use were significantly associated with poorer sperm quality.

It Isn’t All Bad, but Future Dads Should Worry

Two indicators that influence the chances of conception and seem to be affected by marijuana use are low volume of semen and various abnormalities of the sperm. However, there is a third factor of male fertility—the ability of the sperm to move fast—that seems to be improved by marijuana.

The bad news for smokers is that the negative and positive effects don’t balance, and, on the whole, cannabis decreases your chances of becoming a dad. According to the researchers, the mechanisms for either the detrimental or beneficial influence of the substance are still unknown. It is also unclear whether smoking as a form of consumption has anything to do with it and if other methods of delivery, such as edibles, would have the same effects. The authors call for more research.


This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

19 August 2021