Researchers have warned that tetrahydrocannabinol, an active ingredient in recreational marijuana intake, may cause damage to reproductive tissues in both men and women.
According to an analysis outlined by researchers from Western University in London, marijuana smoking is closely linked to low sperm count, delayed ovulation. It also reduces the odds of conception.
Published in the Canadian Medical Association, the study analysed previous findings on the effects of marijuana on men and women reproductory health.
Results of a 2015 study revealed that men who smoke marijuana on an average of two times in a week for three months may suffer from low sperm count by 29 per cent.
In another study where 201 women were examined to understand how marijuana intake affects ovulation changes, the results showed that 43 per cent of women who experienced changes in their ovulatory cycle smoked marijuana.
Sara Ilnitsky, co-author for the study, said though smoking marijuana does not affect most couples ability to conceive; partners with underlying fertility problem should stay off cannabis to increase their chances of conception.
“For couples with infertility, the changes in ovulatory function and sperm count associated with smoking marijuana could compound their difficulty with conceiving,” said Ilnitsky.
She called for more scientific inquiry that centres on the implication of recreational marijuana on human reproductive health as past studies are “small and mainly retrospective”.
“More and better-quality research on the fertility implications of recreational marijuana use is needed. The few human studies on marijuana and fertility are small, nonrandomized and mainly retrospective, introducing inherent confounders,” Ilnitsky said.
“Reliance on self-reported marijuana use introduces inaccuracy, especially where the drug is illegal, and omits valuable information on route and dose.”