In recent years, it’s become increasingly clear that marijuana has clinically significant medical benefits. While there is still a lot of work to be done, research has multiplied tenfold since cannabis legalization spread throughout the states – efforts that have often led to surprising results.
Case in point:
Harvard researchers recently published a study that suggests marijuana might actually increase male fertility!
To learn more about medical marijuana and male fertility, check out the study details below!
Does Marijuana Help or Hurt Fertility?
For years, it was believed that exposure to marijuana hinders spermatogenesis (the natural process that creates sperm), which would mean that marijuana use decreases male fertility. However, in a new study published by Human Reproduction, Harvard researchers suggest the opposite.
In a study that analyzed over 1,100 unique semen samples, scientists found that men who had smoked marijuana had a significantly higher concentration of sperm cells.
Marijuana users averaged 63 million sperm cells per milliliter of semen, compared to the 45 million per milliliter that was observed in males who had never used marijuana. (This equates to approximately 40% more sperm per milliliter of semen in marijuana users!)
The study also uncovered an interesting side-effect of marijuana use on testosterone levels:
Those who smoked [marijuana] more often had testosterone levels an average of eight nanograms per deciliter higher than those who used it less often.
Importantly, no differences were observed between current and past marijuana smokers. (The study looked at men who “had ever used marijuana”.)
Marijuana use was not associated with other semen parameters, such as markers of sperm DNA integrity or reproductive hormones (other than FSH).
What does this mean for medical marijuana patients?
Medical marijuana research is still in its early stages; however, this study is a great example of how countless unexpected benefits have yet to be discovered. It also shows that some of our previous beliefs regarding marijuana use may be incorrect.
Jorge Chavarro, lead researcher in the Harvard study, had this to add:
These unexpected findings from our study highlight that we know too little about the reproductive health effects of cannabis and, in fact, of the health effects in general, to make strong statements about the impact of cannabis on health, with the possible exception of mental health.
We know a lot less than we think we know.