New research from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark has found that smoking marijuana more than once a week may lower men’s sperm counts by an average of 29%, LiveScience reports.
Over 1,000 Danish men ages 18 to 28 participated in the study. The volunteers were asked a series of questions regarding drug use and other lifestyle habits, such as drinking or smoking cigarettes. 45% of the participants used marijuana in the past three months, and 10% said they used marijuana and other recreational drugs. Those in the former group saw an average of 29% decrease in sperm count as opposed to those who had not used marijuana in the past three months, with the latter seeing as much as a 55% drop.
“Our findings are of public interest as marijuana use is common”—indeed, 45% of participants had smoked in the last 3 months—”and may be contributing to recent reports of poor semen quality,” the University of Copenhagen researchers write in the American Journal of Epidemiology. “We cannot exclude the possibility that the men who used marijuana generally have an unhealthier lifestyle and health behavior, which may also affect their semen quality and hormone levels,” said the study.
The researchers found that the men who had smoked marijuana in the past three months were also more likely to smoke cigarettes, and consumed more alcohol and caffeine than those who had not. A 2014 study found that pot usage was strongly associated with “abnormal sperm morphology,” reported Fox News. The researchers concluded that high concentration of THC, the main ingredient of marijuana, interacting with receptors of the testes might be responsible for the decrease in sperm count and concentration.
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