Furthermore, the effects of marijuana on fertility seem to accumulate over time. This means that although teenage girls who smoke marijuana are more likely to get pregnant, by the time a chronic marijuana smoking woman is in her mid-twenties, she may be more likely to experience a delay in getting pregnant.
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Research suggests that marijuana can negatively affect female fertility in the following ways:
Despite the relaxation effects that many people associate with marijuana use, research has shown marijuana has negative effects on the male sexual response.
Quitting marijuana can be harder than many long-term marijuana users expect, so you and your partner would be wise to quit as soon as possible, while you still have time to get help before getting pregnant. If either or both parents still use marijuana when the baby arrives, you are increasing the risk that your child may use drugs in the future, and parental drug use is implicated in many difficulties for children and families.
Another piece of research from May suggested teenagers who use cannabis could be at risk of developing memory problems, while another found that teenagers who use cannabis could be at a higher risk of attempting suicide and experiencing depression.
Other recent studies have also highlighted the potential health risks associated with using the drug. A study published in April found that people who regularly use cannabis need a 220 percent higher dose of sedatives during medical procedures.
“However, for couples with infertility, the changes in ovulatory function and sperm count associated with smoking marijuana could compound their difficulty with conceiving,” they wrote.
As U.S. states, including Alaska and Colorado, and countries, including Canada, legalize marijuana, scientists are working to understand the threat this could pose to users’ health.
Evidence suggests the psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant— tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—activates cannabinoid receptors in a system in the body which includes the internal reproductive organs, explained scientists who presented existing studies on potential harm caused by the drug in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Still, the researchers emphasized studies investigating the link between human fertility and using cannabis are small, not randomized, and retrospective. That means they rely on people telling the truth about their use, which can be tricky when the drug is illegal, and means they can’t collect information including the dose and mode of use.
Smoking weed could affect fertility in both men and women, scientists have warned.