Does Smoking Weed Affect Your Semen?
The question on many guys’ minds: “Does smoking weed affect your semen?”
The short answer: Well, maybe.
There’s now scientific evidence that points to the likelihood that weed can adversely affect sperm, although research is ongoing. We’re going to break down what we know for you below.
The University of Western Australia Study
A recent study from the University of Western Australia suggests that smoking weed can damage your sperm’s DNA, which may result in difficulties with pregnancy and various birth defects that include childhood cancer.
In reviewing a recent study that links THC with DNA damage, University of Western Australia’s School of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Associate Professor, Stuart Reece, and co-author Professor Gary Hulse, also of the University of Western Australia, write unborn children are put at risk whenever either parent uses marijuana. Specifically, this occurs due to a process called chromothripsis. This “chromosomal shattering” damages DNA in sperm.
“Cannabis can slow cell growth which makes it difficult for cells to divide – and this can disrupt fetal growth and the development of organs and limbs,” says Associate Professor Reece. “Sperm is tomorrow’s Australia so we need to get the message out there.”
Reece and Hulse also cite a 2007 Hawaiian study to further make their case. That study examined fetuses with birth defects across an 18-year-span, and linked cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana use to a higher risk of birth defects. These defects include abdominal wall problems, spina bifida, and holes in the heart.
It should be noted, however, that the Hawaiian study did not offer proper controls for prenatal care level or smoking or alcohol use, and thus its weed-related findings are far from definitive.
The U.K. Study
Another recent study corroborates the University of Western Australia study when it comes to the possibility of weed adversely affecting semen.
Findings published in Human Reproduction and reported upon by Men’s Health suggest that weed use may be linked to sperm alterations that result in greater difficulty in getting women pregnant. The study involved 2,000 men based in the United Kingdom and hailing from 14 separate fertility clinics. Unlike the Hawaiian study, the U.K. study controlled for tobacco and alcohol use as well as other applicable vices.
The results? Men 30 and younger that self-reported marijuana use at least once in the previous 90 days had approximately twice the likelihood of suffering from poor sperm morphology (sperm size and shape). This makes it more difficult for sperm to navigate to eggs.
Why does this happen? No one quite knows, yet.
“We have no hypothesis. However, there is work from mice suggesting that cannabis can change the way that DNA is packaged, and this could indirectly lead to changes in sperm size and shape,” says lead author Allan Pacey, Ph.D., of the University of Sheffield in England.
In conclusion? It can’t yet be proven that smoking weed will affect your semen, but if you’re concerned and looking to raise a family soon, it’s best to be cautious.