If you’re looking to bring new life into the world, it might be time for a tolerance break.
According to new research published in The Journal Of Urology and first reported by MedPageToday, scientists in Brazil found that cannabis users have sperm health similar to control samples of infertile men.
Comparing semen samples from 74 cannabis users, 144 tobacco smokers, 125 infertile men, and 279 healthy, low infertility risk control subjects, the researchers at the University of Sao Paulo found the highest levels of cell-damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) in self-reported pot smokers. Weed users’ sperm were also found to have atypical size and shape, leading to questions about the effects of pot on reproductive health.
"Overall, the marijuana group had semen quality equivalent to the infertile group, with the exception of higher ROS and DNA damage than infertile men," study co-author Jorge Hallak, MD told MedPageToday. "DNA damage is higher in all groups (marijuana users, smokers, and infertile men) as compared to controls, but higher levels were found in the marijuana group and infertile men."
In other words, cannabis users had the most damaged sperm out of all the groups (besides the infertile study participants). The study did not look at whether the cannabis or tobacco users were actually incapable of fathering a child, but instead focused on sperm concentration, ROS, and DNA markers that indicate present or potential future infertility.
Since cannabis remains a Schedule I drug in the eyes of the federal government, clinical research into the plant and its long-term effects on the human body have been severely stunted, and fertility studies are no exception. And while a number of other reports have found similar correlations between cannabis and low fertility, other studies have found entirely opposite results.
Additionally, completely separate social studies have found cannabis to be an effective aphrodisiac, suggesting that there may be more to the relationship between bud and the bedroom than any one angle — or study — can properly assess.
Without long-term studies — or standardized cannabis products as a control — the research will remain preliminary, and without any definite causal conclusions.
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