Indulging in choom, pot, weed, spliff, wacky tobacky, rope, hemp, ganja, Mary Jane, marijuana, or whatever moniker that is used to connote Cannibis sativa, has health effects that go beyond the damage done to the lungs by smoking it. According to a new study conducted in Denmark, smoking the wacky weed can damage semen quality in men.
The study examined a research pool of 1,215 Danish men ages 18 to 28 were surveyed about their drug use over the past three months. The men in the study provided semen samples. Forty-five percent of those surveyed in the study had used marijuana within the previous 3 months.
The Danish research team found a distinct correlation between those men who smoked marijuana more than once a week with their sperm count. Among this group, researchers found that their sperm count was 29% lower than in those who reported lighter or no usage of the weed. Men in the study who also reported the use of other recreational drugs (including everything from cocaine to ecstasy) showed a more drastic reduction: their sperm count stood at 55%.
Additionally, the researchers wrote in an abstract, "Marijuana smokers had higher levels of testosterone within the same range as cigarette smokers."
"Our findings are of public interest as marijuana use is common," wrote the authors of the study "and may be contributing to recent reports of poor semen quality."
The University of Copenhagen researchers said that their evidence leads them to two different conclusions. It is possible, they said, that the interaction between the psycho-active ingredient in cannibis THC - Tetrahydrocannabinol - and receptors found in the testicles may cause the drop in the number of spermatazoa and hence fertility drop. Writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology
, they said that other factors must be considered. Additionally, they said, "We cannot exclude the possibility that the men who used marijuana generally have an unhealthier lifestyle and health behavior, which may also affect their semen quality and hormone levels." However, when the researchers took into account the use of caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes consumption, the tie still held.
An earlier study by another group of rearchers in 2014 had already shown a strong relationship between marijuana use and "abnormal sperm morphology."
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