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Study: Pot smoking lowers fertility

Sperm in men who smoke marijuana regularly lose stamina and burn out which may prevent conception, said a study released.
/ Source: Reuters

Sperm in men who smoke marijuana regularly lose stamina and burn out which may prevent conception, said a study released Monday.

The study by the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York, is the first to focus on the swimming patterns of sperm in men who smoke marijuana, the authors say.

“The sperm from marijuana smokers were moving too fast too early,” said Lani Burkman, lead author of the study, in a statement.

“To attach itself to the egg, the sperm has to swim like mad — that’s hyper activation — and they have to be vigorous at the right time,” Burkman said. “Smoking marijuana messes up the natural regulatory system.”

“The timing was all wrong. These sperm will experience burnout before they reach the egg and would not be capable of fertilization.”

The study, released at the annual conference of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine in San Antonio, found that men who smoke marijuana have less sperm because of lower quantities of seminal fluid compared to fertile men.

One of the ingredients of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive chemical that causes people to feel ”high.”

Swimming too fast
“We don’t know exactly what is happening to change sperm functioning,” said Burkman, “but we think it is one of two things: THC may be causing improper timing of sperm function by direct stimulation, or it may be bypassing natural inhibition mechanisms. Whatever the cause, the sperm are swimming too fast too early.”

The speed, volume, shape, density, movement and count of sperm were studied in both men whose sperm is fertile and marijuana smokers.

A previous study found that the enzyme cap of human sperm changed when exposed to high levels of THC. As a result, the sperm has a harder time attaching to the egg before fertilization.

Even if people stop smoking marijuana, THC gets stored in the body fat and may take several months before leaving the body, Burkman said.

“I definitely would advise anyone trying to conceive not to smoke marijuana, and that would include women as well as men,” Burkman said.