Marijuana users may have increased sperm counts, Harvard study finds

https://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2019/02/08/marijuana-users-may-have-increased-sperm-counts-harvard-study-finds/


New research conducted by Harvard researchers could disprove another stoner stereotype.

A study published this week in the Human Reproduction medical journal found that male marijuana smokers might actually carry higher sperm counts and concentrations when compared to men who have never used pot.

“Our findings were contrary to what we hypothesized at the start of the study,” study lead author Feiby Nassan, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Researchers analyzed health surveys and semen samples from more than 650 men who were part of couples seeking treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center between 2000 and 2017. The majority of the men participating had normal sperm counts.

A survey found that 55 percent of men reported smoking marijuana at least once in their lifetimes, and 11 percent said that they currently smoked marijuana.

Experts found that men who reported to have smoked marijuana had an average sperm concentration of 63 million sperm per milliliter of semen, while those who had never used marijuana averaged just 45 million sperm per milliliter.

However, men who stopped smoking tended to have slightly higher sperm counts than current users.

“We spent a good two months redoing everything, making sure that there wasn’t any error in the data,” said co-author Dr. Jorge Chavarro, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We were very, very surprised about this.”

Despite the surprising results, experts say that much more research must be conducted before reaching a definitive conclusion.

“We could have found what we thought we were going to find, and maybe wouldn’t have been as surprised and would have ended up writing a very different paper,” said Chavarro. “But the fact that we showed the exact opposite forced us to look very, very deeply into the marijuana health effects literature. There is not that much. We are operating mostly on assumptions and good intentions and hunches.”

Smell The Truth is one of the internet’s most popular destinations for cannabis-related news and culture. This blog is not written or edited by SFGate or the San Francisco Chronicle. The authors are solely responsible for the content.

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