Marijuana provides medicine, construction materials, food, clothing, household goods, recreational pleasure, but a recent study showed that cannabis doubles the risk of men under 30 to produce abnormal sperm.
How does this affect male fertility and is it a male factor for infertility?
The largest lifestyle study of its kind examined the affect of pot on sperm production. Researchers did not find any effect on the size and shape of sperm with alcohol and cigarettes; I was surprised. Cannabis had a marked impact in younger men.
This study looked at the shape and size of individual sperm. Size and shape affect the motility or ability to swim and sperm with poor swimming abilities are less likely to pass through the female cervix to fertilize a female egg. Smoking pot is not a form of birth control - don't try this experiment. There is always someone who is the exception to the rule. If you're young and are not planning to become a father use protection every time.
Previous studies have linked sperm quality to tight underwear and high temperatures, but this study could only link cannabis, frequent ejaculation and summer-time ejaculation to poor sperm morphology.
How does this work and why?
We don't know the exact mechanism of action or whether it is a direct effect or an association with something else. I immediately think of methylation differences, pesticides or herbicides used to grow cannabis or other individual biochemistry with impaired detox pathways. I know that in certain individuals smoking pot causes oxidative stress in the brain. It is recommended for those individuals to take anti-oxidants or drink orange juice to offset the damage. There were several articles about young men and women who presented to the ER with stroke symptoms after smoking pot. These may have been predisposed individuals with homozygous MTHFR defects.
We have been testing all Second Nature patients for MTHFR for the past 20 years.