New study finds that Marijuana smokers have significantly higher sperm counts, reasons are unknown yet.
According to recent legal trends, laws have been loosened up a lot in terms of smoking Marijuana. We easily could have the impression that it’s surely because they realized that it is not harmful at all to use, however, scientists still don’t exactly know what impact Marijuana has to the human body. Nevertheless, one totally unexpected side effect got emerged by researchers of Harvard University, published in the journal Human Reproduction. Scientists found that smoking Marijuana seems to increase sperm count.
Between 2000 and 2017 a team of researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health gathered 1,143 sperm samples from 662 middle-aged men, with an average age of 36. All of them were asked about their joint smoking habits – have they ever smoked Marijuana, if so, how many times, and whether they smoke any recently. According to the answers, 55% of the volunteers have tried marijuana before, 44% sometime in the past, 11% confessed themselves as current smokers.
The researchers, to their biggest surprise, found that men who have used the drug had higher semen counts than those who never smoked a joint. The difference is quite conspicuous: the users had an average of 62.7 million sperm per millimeter, while the team of “clean” men an average of 45.4 million. In addition, researchers also found that only 5% of the Marijuana smokers had semen count below the WHO-defined normal level, while this number is as high as 12% amongst the non-smokers.
As a next step, the Harvard team took blood tests from 317 participants. This time they checked the hormone levels and the results showed that testosterone levels of marijuana smokers are also higher.
All this news is undoubtedly exciting, however, the researchers emphasize that the study certainly had its limitations – for example, all of them college-educated, white men – and it still hasn’t been proved that marijuana makes good for your reproductive or even general health. In the medical literature, we can find a previous research that connects marijuana to reduced fertility, adding a final twist to the story.
Co-author Jorge Chavarro underlines that these findings just prove how little we know about the health effects of marijuana, and how much more is to learn. A research-process always has a risk that answers of the participants are usually self-reported, and they might not give the correct answers to certain questions. In this specific research, the volunteers were all registered at a fertility clinic which means their partners had issues with conceiving. Also, they were only asked whether they ever had a joint or two, which is not enough to shade the picture of users versus non-users. Who knows, probably the whole story is the other way round, and the men with higher testosterone level (and higher sperm count) are the ones who enjoy the risk of taking marijuana.
Not to leave anyone in doubt, the researcher team summarized the conclusion