Cannabis and Male Fertility

March 25, 2021

It’s no secret that cannabis has been widely used for years as a recreational drug. More recently, it has also shown effectiveness as an alternative medical treatment for certain conditions. Today, due to being fully legalized or decriminalized in much of the U.S., its use is even more widespread—especially at younger ages.

Although more research is being done on the long term health benefits versus health risks, studies are currently limited. Most men are aware that cannabis has a negative impact on fertility, however research has yet to determine exactly why.

A large literature review which looked at multiple studies and papers on the topic of cannabis use and men’s health concluded that more research was needed when it came to fertility, specifically. Evidence suggested that cannabis plays a role in reducing sperm count and concentration. It was also noted to possibly cause abnormalities in sperm morphology, motility and viability. Studies have been inconclusive in identifying the exact impact of cannabis on the hormones influencing fertility such as: testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), however, it does suggest that there is a negative impact.

More information needs to be gathered via human studies in order to see if the findings noted in animal models are reflected. Additionally, it is increasingly important for studies to examine the impact of use at younger reproductive ages, and for them to take into account chronic use versus occasional use. The good news is that as cannabis becomes more popular and further legalized throughout the U.S., these issues will be studied more effectively and better information on long term effects will be made available to the public.

Patients undergoing a male infertility workup should be sure to note that disclosing any current or prior use could be helpful in identifying an underlying cause. If you have questions about male fertility and would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Austin Urology Institute today.