The risks of marijuana use while trying to conceive

Published Apr 25, 2019 09:23 a.m. ET
AP Photo/Morgan Lee

Cannabis research has shown that consuming the plant and its many cannabinoids can provide a host of miraculous benefits for a variety of common ailments which has garnered a lot of popularity as the results are displayed in the media spotlight for all to see. Though marijuana use is certainly great for many different problems and conditions, there are still some rare situations where you might want to avoid it until the time comes where it is safe to consume again. One of the most notable instances in question is when you are having difficulty when trying to conceive a child. Now, some people get confused and wonder how pot can be so beneficial for some while imposing restrictions on others. Unfortunately, it’s a matter of choosing the less risky option when you want to have a baby, and that isn’t just the case for the mother, as marijuana use can have some negative effects on men’s fertility as well. Here we will cover some of the reasons verified by famous weed studies that you might want to abstain from smoking anything including cannabis while trying to conceive.

Marijuana use effects on male fertility

Though there are many cannabis smoking women that manage to get pregnant without issue every single year, cannabis research shows that marijuana use can negatively impact the fertility of a female for a few different reasons.

  1. Early drug use- Women who use cannabis in their youth are a lot more likely to have difficulty getting pregnant compared to non-user’s once they enter their 20’s.
  2. Ovulation- Marijuana use in women is believed to cause a disruption in ovulation cycles which leads to irregular periods, and unpredictable often shifting optimal times to get pregnant.
  3. Miscarriage- Smoking any kind of product including tobacco or marijuana will increase the risk of miscarriage by 5%.
  4. Decreased libido- Though marijuana use in small doses could act as an aphrodisiac, more substantial amounts will typically have the opposite effect leaving the women with a lower sex drive.

Marijuana use effects on female fertility

A lot of people jump right to the conclusion that what a woman consumes while trying to conceive is all that matters, but cannabis research shows that couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. Here are just a couple of ways marijuana use can adversely impact a man's fertility.

  1. Increased impotence- Marijuana use in men, is associated with an increased risk of impotence by up to 7%. If a man is unable to get an erection, then there is no way for a sperm to be released to fertilize the egg making it nearly impossible to get pregnant.
  2. Decreased sensation- Cannabis is an excellent sedative, but it is also known to dull many processing senses including touch. This can make it difficult for a male to ejaculate which is necessary for pregnancy to occur. It also makes sex a lot less fun creating anxiety that leads to a decrease in sexual activity.
  3. Reduced sperm production- Marijuana use will negatively affect a man's sperm production reducing the available sperm by up to 12%.
  4. Reduced sperm activity- The process of conceiving doesn’t end when the sex does. For a woman to get pregnant, the sperm must survive a long journey to successfully reach the egg. Some studies have shown that men who use cannabis have a decrease in sperm activity. Often swimming slowly, or jaggedly, in a manner that doesn’t allow for the preservation of energy required to make the trip.


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