A study at the University of Washington Medical Center has determined that marijuana use may cause infertility in males. This is caused by the active compound in marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which inhibits sperm production as well as sperm mobility.
Sperm in decline
Studies nationwide are showing that sperm counts in men are decreasing but researchers are uncertain exactly why it is happening. There is speculation that the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana use in 40 states may be contributing to this decline. More research is required to determine just exactly what impact on fertility marijuana use may be having on men of reproductive age.
Women infertile due to pot too
Further, it is believed that women’s fertility may be negatively impacted by marijuana use as well. The University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Institute has learned that marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug by women who are of reproductive age and by women who are pregnant as well.
The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is known to cross the placental barrier and can also be secreted into breast milk. The impact this can have on developing fetuses and on nursing infants isn’t fully understood but it is strongly recommended that pregnant women and women that are nursing should refrain from marijuana use.
Not just pot
Although marijuana is known to lower sperm count and mobility in males, it isn’t just marijuana that has this effect. Alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs can also have adverse effects on fertility. Other drugs that have negative impact on fertility are testosterone, Flomax (tamsulosin), which are drugs used to treat BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy). Drugs for treating male pattern baldness like propecia or proscar, antidepressants, and opiates are all known to have negative impact on fertility.
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