Pot smoking tied to improved semen parameters

  • Nassan FL & al.
  • Hum Reprod
  • 6 Feb 2019

  • curated by Craig Hicks
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Men who have smoked cannabis have higher sperm concentrations and counts and lower serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) concentrations.

Why this matters

  • These findings are not consistent with those of other studies, which show a negative effect of cannabis on testicular function.

Study design

  • Researchers in this longitudinal study examined subfertile men (N=662).
  • The researchers analyzed associations between cannabis smoking and semen parameters, as well as sperm DNA integrity and serum reproductive hormones.
  • Funding: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Key results

  • Men who had smoked cannabis (n=365) had a significantly higher sperm concentration (62.7 [95% CI, 56.0-70.3] million/mL) than never-smokers (n=297; 45.4 [95% CI, 38.6-53.3] million/mL) after adjustment for potential confounders such as tobacco smoking and cocaine use (P=.0003).
  • Sperm concentration was similar between current (n=74; 59.5 [95% CI, 47.3-74.8] million/mL) and past cannabis smokers (n=291; 63.5 [95% CI, 56.1-72.0] million/mL; P=.60).
  • Cannabis smokers had significantly lower FSH concentrations than never-smokers (95% CI, −27% to −4%), and there were no significant differences between current and past smokers (P=.53).

Limitations

  • Cannabis use was self-reported.
  • Findings may reflect reverse causation or be dose-dependent.