APR 11, 2023 6:12 AM PDT

Abstinence Can Reverse Male Infertility Risk Attributed to Heavy Cannabis Use

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A recent study confirmed that reducing or eliminating cannabis consumption can counter its harmful effects on male reproductive health. The study published in Fertility & Sterility showed that abstaining from cannabis consumption can restore male reproductive health. Stopping cannabis consumption for at least four months can partially reverse low fertility counts.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the most commonly used drugs among reproductive age men worldwide. Cannabis research has been hindered by its federally illegal status. Many men may not be aware of THC’s potential harm to reproductive health. The findings can help health care providers engage in more effective counseling strategies when discussing THC consumption with patients. As study author Dr. Jamie Lo, M.D., M.C.R., and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology explained, “It’s so important that we research, understand and educate about the implications of THC on reproductive health, especially as use continues to increase among individuals of reproductive age and more states legalize cannabis.” This data is critical to share with patients who are considering family planning or trying to conceive.

The researchers administered THC in incremental doses over a period of roughly seven months. They examined changes to the tissue of the mice’s reproductive organs and testes and evaluated the quantity and quality of their sperm. The researchers observed that cannabis exposure contributed to a significant reduction in size of the testes. THC exposure also impacted male hormones and altered the regulation of genes involved in nervous system development.

More research is needed to comprehend the biological mechanism of this reversal process. The study emphasizes the benefit of discontinuing THC use as a part of family planning and provides insight into the minimum duration of cannabis abstinence needed to undo THC’s damage. These findings can help develop more effective counseling for patients considering starting a family or attempting to conceive.

The multidisciplinary team will focus future research efforts on the effects of chronic THC use over long periods of time and through various routes of administration such as vaporizing. 

Sources: Eureka News Alert, Fertility and Sterility


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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