THC Causes Genetic Changes To Sperm According To New Study

THC Causes Genetic Changes To Sperm According To New Study

Studies show that men who consume marijuana are more likely to produce semen with a lower concentration of sperm, known as low sperm count, than those who abstain. According to new research from Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina, smoking cannabis may have an even bigger impact on sperm than previously thought.

The study aimed to learn more about the reproductive effects of a father’s exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, and subsequently how it affects embryo development and the lifetime health of the offspring. Samples from both lab rats and humans were used and compared in the research, and the results from both were similar. The sperm from subjects with higher levels of THC in their urine had more pronounced genetic changes.

Following the study, Duke Health announced that “exposure to cannabis alters the genetic profile of sperm,” but “whether genetic changes can be reversed or are passed on to children is still unknown.” The research paper, “Cannabinoid exposure and altered DNA methylation in rat and human sperm,” was published in the journal Epigenetics on December 19, 2018.

Epigenetics explores the biological mechanisms in DNA that turn genes on and off. THC doesn’t mutate the sperm itself, but it may change the way the genes that are passed on to children are regulated and expressed. Researchers believe this information is significant for men of childbearing age because if a child is conceived from a sperm that was altered by exposure to THC, it may impact the development of the child. It is not yet known whether a THC-altered sperm is even capable of fertilizing an egg.

The research team at Duke Health plans to increase the sample size for future studies to learn more about how THC changes the genetic profile of sperm. “In the absence of a larger, definitive study, the best advice would be to assume these changes are going to be there,” said lead author Susan K. Murphy, Ph.D. “We don’t know whether they are going to be permanent. I would say, as a precaution, stop using cannabis for at least six months before trying to conceive.”

Study Suggests Cannabis Does Affect Sperm Count

Study Suggests Cannabis Does Affect Sperm Count

While cannabis myths are being busted left and right, a new study reveals there may be some truth to the old wive’s tale that smoking pot may affect male fertility.

The crossover study, recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, determined that smoking marijuana at least one time each week may significantly lower sperm count.

To determine these numbers, the study analyzed the semen, blood and physical assessment of 1,215 Danish men between the ages of 18 and 28. These samples were taken between 2008 and 2012 when these young men were being considered for military service.

During the compulsory assessment, each participant answered several questions regarding the use of recreational drugs, including cannabis, during the 3 months prior to the examination. Participants were given the answer choices of “no use”, “use once or less per week”, or “use twice or more per week.”

Those who reported smoking at least once per week were found to have 28 percent lower sperm concentration and a 29 percent lower total sperm count. Those responding that they used cannabis more than once per week with other recreational drugs were found to have a 52 percent lower sperm concentration and a 55 percent lower total sperm count.

Study author Tina Kold Jensen, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark reported that this much of a difference was “quite a lot.” The study concluded:

“Our findings are of public interest as marijuana use is common and may be contributing to recent reports of poor semen quality.”

More research needs to be completed on this topic to really identify the link between cannabis consumption and male fertility. While it is definitely a terribly irresponsible idea to use marijuana consumption as your primary method of birth control, it should also probably be avoided by those trying to conceive.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']