A new study from Harvard University researchers found men who smoke marijuana have a significantly higher number of sperm than non-tokers.<br data-cke-eol=”1″>
Wannabe fathers now have high expectations.
A new study from Harvard University researchers found men who smoke marijuana have a significantly higher number of sperm than non-tokers.
The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction, flies in the face of previous studies which suggest that smoking pot can have negative impacts on the fertility of the man.
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The team of the Harvard tested 662 men who were enrolled at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center between 2000 and 2017. From the pool, they collected 1,143 sperm samples.
The 365 men who reported that they ever smoked pot, had “significantly higher sperm concentration” — exactly 63 million sperm per millilitre of semen, compared with the 297 who never had a hit, which, on average, 45 million/mL.
There were no significant differences in sperm count between current and former smokers of cannabis.
Researchers adjusted the findings for factors that could have an impact on the number of sperm, such as age, abstinence time, smoking, consumption of coffee, alcohol, and cocaine.
The results were surprising, and show how much more there is to learn about the link between marijuana use and fertility, the scientists said.
“These unexpected findings of our study emphasize that we know too little about the reproductive health effects of cannabis and, in fact, the effects on the health in general to make strong statements about the effect of cannabis on the health, with the possible exception of mental health,” said lead researcher Jorge Chavarro, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard university, in a statement. “We know a lot less than we think we know.”
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The study also found that among the men who had ever smoked pot, “those who smoked more frequently had testosterone levels an average of eight nanograms per deciliter higher than those who took it less often.”
Dr. Feiby Nassan, one of the authors of the study, said that men with a higher testosterone level are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as drug use, that may be behind the study is the finding of a higher number of sperm.
“The relationships that we see between the smoking of cannabis, sperm count and testosterone levels, because people with higher testosterone within normal levels, have a higher number of sperm and are more likely to smoke cannabis,” she said.
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A normal sperm is at least 15 million/mL, according to the World Health Organization.
Chavarro cautioned that the findings do not necessarily mean that smoking pot increases the chances of making a baby.
“An equally important limitation is the fact that most of the data were collected, while cannabis is illegal in Massachusetts, so it is difficult to know to what extent men under-reported use of cannabis by the social stigma or the consequences related to insurance coverage for infertility services,” he said.