London Experts Urge More Research into Marijuana’s Effects on Fertility
We have heard many of the health consequences of cannabis use brought forth by doctors or special interest groups. But one claim, made by London researchers, has not received much attention.
Specifically, recent studies indicate – albeit rather weakly – that cannabis use could cause problems with fertility in both men and women, according to The London Free Press.
Unfortunately, prohibition laws make further investigation difficult. However, if there is in fact some truth to this concern, then it would definitely be beneficial for the public to know about it, especially for individuals who wish to have children.
Western University Ramping Up Research
There is an indication that cannabis use can affect fertility, but Western University researchers want a more definitive answer. One interested party is Sara Ilnitsky, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellow at Western. She says:
“The general public’s knowledge about the effects of marijuana on fertility is limited. This is equally true of health care providers’ knowledge. Since marijuana is not legal in the majority of places, there has been a hesitancy to admit to using it, or to even ask people about it.”
Ilnitsky admits that current research on marijuana and infertility is limited and also somewhat questionable. In shining light on the potential connection to infertility, Ilnitsky hopes to understand the facts and provoke others to do their own research about the various risks associated with cannabis use.
Directly Acts on Vulnerable Areas
One reason some experts voice concern is the mechanism in which the psychoactive compound THC acts upon certain areas of the body. According to The London Free Press:
“In the review of existing research studies, Ilnitsky and Van Uum said tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – acts on receptors in the pituitary gland and reproductive organs in both men and women. The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, produces hormones but also acts as master gland, stimulating other glandular tissue in the body to produce hormones of their own.”
The relationship – and its consequences – between THC, hormone production and the reproductive organs remains to be seen in-depth. However, Ilnitsky warns that the existence of cannabinoid receptors in these areas could lead to a variety of different interactions or issues.
Although studies are few and far between, there are some that produced notable results. One study reviewed by researchers at Western University showed a 29% reduction in sperm count for males who used cannabis more than once per week. The sperm itself, however, remained unaffected.
But at the same time, another study done in the U.S. found that cannabis use did not “significantly affect” a couple’s ability to conceive. However, Ilnitsky warns that the effect on sperm and hormones could cause issues for individuals already dealing with fertility issues.
“These are the people we’re a bit more worried about, because if you knock down the sperm count a little bit and you mess with ovulation a little bit, those could compound things that already are going on in the background.”
Again, however, these are all preliminary concerns that are yet to be fully confirmed. Hopefully, more research will shed light on this question.
WeedAdvisor’s Concern for Public Health
Although we are advocates for the cannabis industry, we also understand that no drug is completely safe. We encourage safe, responsible, educated cannabis use. This is why concerns like impact on fertility are particularly notable to us.
We work hard to educate our audience on the benefits and drawbacks of marijuana, because the last thing anyone wants is to be taken by surprise when hit with an unexpected health effect.