FEB 01, 2024 5:00 AM PST

How Cannabis Impacts Male Sexual Health

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A recent study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research indicates a potential link between cannabis use and an increase in testosterone, improved sperm motility, and decreased sperm concentration. The findings shed light on how the Cannabis Act in Canada (implemented in October 2018) impacted the use, semen quality, and testosterone levels of men with fertility challenges.

The retrospective cohort study examined trends over two decades using data from pre-cannabis legalization eras (PRCL) and post-cannabis legalization eras (POCL). The cohort included 11,630 patients. The research team analyzed the database of an infertility clinic to correlate demographic, fertility, and substance use history with semen and hormone assessments. The research team found a 10% increase in cannabis consumption among men with potential infertility.

PRCL data reflected an 8.4% increase in cannabis use per year. Alcohol and tobacco use decreased. POCL data demonstrated similar patterns. When compared to the PRCL group, POCL patient data showed higher rates of cannabis use (22.4% vs. 12.9%) and decreased tobacco and alcohol intake (15.2% vs. 17.7% and 50.5% vs. 55.2%, respectively). 

Semen concentration was lower in the POCL group. Testosterone did not differ between the cohorts. Comparison between cannabis users and nonusers demonstrated a slight increase in sperm motility) and decreased sperm concentration among users).

A previous study also found cannabis use impacted semen quality. The findings indicated that cannabis consumption negatively affected morphology and volume, but the study also suggested cannabis may play a role in preventing abnormal sperm motility. The study showed that current and past cannabis users had a greater risk of abnormal sperm strict morphology compared to men who never used cannabis. 

Many studies have highlighted how cannabis can enhance or hinder sexual health, but further studies on cannabis's benefits and risks to male reproductive health are needed.  

Sources: Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, Therapeutic Advances in Urology


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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