“What we have found is that the effects of cannabis use on males and their reproductive health are not completely null, in that there’s something about cannabis use that affects the genetic profile in sperm,” Scott Kollins, a senior author of the study, said in a statement.
Since sperm concentration can greatly affect a person’s reproductive abilities, the study’s authors also looked at the potential for this trait to be passed from a cannabis user down to their offspring. Based on previous studies about cigarette smokers’ ability to pass on certain traits, they found that there is a chance cannabis users who have genetically-changed sperm might cause their children to also have genetically changed sperm.
Sperm concentration affects a person’s ability to conceive, so a lower concentration could make it more difficult to have a child
The small study, which looked at the sperm of 37 men who either used or did not use cannabis, concluded that use of the substance can significantly change a person’s sperm concentration. The study also looked at how cannabis use affected ejaculation, semen volume, semen pH, and motility, and found that the substance did not create a significant change in these categories.
This factor is important because if fewer sperm are present in a person’s semen, there is a decreased chance that a sperm will reach an egg and fertilize it. According to the Mayo Clinic, a low sperm count or concentration means a person has fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. To determine a person’s sperm count, doctors must look at semen under a microscope on two separate occasions for accuracy purposes, the Mayo Clinic explained.
Cannabis can affect the body in a number of ways, including sperm concentration, a new study from Duke University found.
The germ cells in the testicles that produce sperm work best in temperatures slightly below normal body temperatures. If the temperature within the testicles is elevated by only two, three, or four degrees Fahrenheit, both sperm and testosterone production are negatively affected. To keep the testicles cool, the scrotum (the skin sac that holds them) loosens up so that the testes are held away from the body. But if you wear tight jeans, bicycle shorts, or leather pants that hold the testicles close against your body, their temperature may rise. This also may happen if you wear under shorts made of nylon or other artificial fibers, even if they’re not tight. Such fabrics hold in more heat than cotton and wool, materials that “breathe.” Keeping your genital area cool also helps avoid infections that thrive in warm, moist places.
PESTICIDES. Frequent exposure to lawn and farm chemicals can be harmful, especially those applied as a spray, because the sprays can drift some distance and be inhaled unknowingly. When using any sort of weedkillers, fungicides, or pesticides, wear a mask, long pants, long shirtsleeves, and vinyl (not latex) gloves. If you work on a farm, or in any environment where toxins may be present, you may want to invest in a mask with replaceable charcoal filters (available at hardware stores) and to wear protective clothing consistently.
In the laboratories of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, blue cohosh produced significant birth defects in rat embryos, such as nerve damage, twisted tails, and poor or absent eye development. The research was done in 1996–98 by Dr. Edward J. Kennelly, now at the City University of New York. The herb is also known as blueberry root, squawroot, or papoose root.
Men—Avoid hot water and tight pants!
Cocaine may have a negative impact on sperm development. Recent animal experiments have shown that it damages the cells that produce sperm.
Several popular herbal preparations probably should be added to the list of substances to avoid if you want to protect your fertility. Although many people believe that because herbs are “natural” they’re safe, those that have drug-like effects on the body do contain potent chemicals. Like some over-the-counter or prescription medicines, some herbal remedies may interfere with normal reproduction.
Marijuana has been linked to an inability to perform sexually and to diminished fertility. It also has been associated with increased levels of female hormones in men and to the development of abnormally shaped sperm. This has the effect of reducing the production of LH and therefore decreasing the levels of the male hormone testosterone.
Tobacco smoking has been linked to reduced fertility in both women and men. In addition, a recent British study has found an association between smoking and stillbirths, low birthweight babies, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). A woman who smokes is likely to have less chance of becoming pregnant and giving birth when treated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) than a woman who doesn’t smoke. This is especially true if she smokes twenty or more cigarettes a day. A mechanism that may link cigarette smoking and reduced pregnancy rates following IVF is the observation that smoking appears to accelerate the rate of egg loss. Women who smoke have the elevated hormone levels that indicate a depleted supply of eggs and prematurely aged follicles.
It takes plenty of testosterone to make sperm, but testosterone supplements can actually KO the body’s sperm-making machinery, says Dr. Niederberger. That’s because too much testosterone shuts down the pituitary, the gland that regulates the testicles’ production of sperm.
What’s more, they can damage sperm cells’ DNA cargo. And cigarettes can do their damage even if guys themselves don’t smoke. The sons of mothers who smoke have poorer sperm quality than sons of non-smoking moms.
Weed Is Whack
The intensely painful condition – most common among tall young men in the middle of the night – can cut off the blood supply to a testicle, says Dr. Niederberger. If that goes on too long, it can kill the testicle. It can even disrupt sperm production in the other, untwisted testicle.
Other research has shown that resting a laptop on your lap can have the same damaging effect.
Anybody with cryptorchidism should have his testicles surgically brought into the scrotum as quickly as possible.