Using marijuana can have adverse effects on male fertility

Marijuana use by both men and women has been scientifically proven to have an adverse effect on fertility. The active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, causes sperm to become prematurely hyperactive. Normally, functioning sperm only become hyperactive once they reach the fallopian tubes to allow them the strength to reach the egg for fertilization. When sperm come into contact with THC, however, they become hyperactive right away and essentially burn out before they can ever make it to their destination. The sperm’s exposure to vaginal fluids that contain THC has this same effect, meaning that THC within a woman’s system has the potential to negatively impact any sperm that enters it.


Do speak openly with your partner

You and your partner should discuss any potential issues that you believe could be contributing factors to not being able to get pregnant. Factors such as age, weight, diet, stress, among others, should also be considered. If one or both of you uses marijuana, be aware of its potential adverse effects and devise a plan to stop using it, unless you have been prescribed marijuana for a medical condition, in which case you should first consult with your doctor.

Do seek help from a doctor

There are many factors that could be contributing to you or your partner’s infertility. The most efficient and safest way to find out is through medical guidance. Otherwise, you could be running around in circles trying various methods that will never work for you because you need to understand the underlying issue or cause before you can know how to treat it.

Do find supporters

Although marijuana isn’t considered to be physically addictive, it’s still a drug and certainly addictive psychologically. Just as with any other addiction, it can be helpful to find others who have also struggled with that same issue for quality information from their experiences and also emotional and social support.

Do engage in a new activity or habit to replace the old one

In order to fully stop smoking marijuana, if this is what you decide to do, finding a new activity that you can make into a habit will help keep you from relapsing. Find something that will be easy for you to make into a habit and try to make it something healthy. You might also want to try chewing gum if you find you’re having trouble not smoking.

Do eliminate marijuana use gradually

For many people who use marijuana, by smoking or otherwise, they do so on a regular basis, sometimes daily. Although it isn’t physically addictive, marijuana can become a psychological addiction, like any other engrained habit. If this is the case, it might be wise to attempt weening off marijuana gradually as to not shock your system or have the whole plan backfire and start using at an even greater rate.


Do not place blame

When issues like this arise, it’s common for a couple to place blame on one another, not wanting to acknowledge their own possible contribution to the issue. It’s still possible to remain fertile while consuming marijuana, so it’s best not to jump to conclusions until you know for certain what the underlying issues truly are. It could be completely unrelated to marijuana use. Try not to point the finger, as this will only create conflict and place more stress on your relationship.

Do not opt for fertility treatment prematurely

It’s a common trend to see women getting fertility treatments after trying a fairly short period of time to get pregnant. Some women experience trouble at first because they were taking some form of birth control for many years, making it so their bodies require more time before being physically able to become fertile. This is also true with men who may have been engaged in certain activities that could’ve inhibited sperm potency. A successful pregnancy is a complex process, although some people become pregnant more easily than others, one shouldn’t rush into treatments that could be dangerous and unnecessary.

Do not stop taking medically prescribed marijuana without a doctor’s consent

If you were prescribed marijuana for medicinal purposes, speak with your doctor before stopping or reducing it. If you were prescribed with this drug, then it was likely for an important reason. Stopping without getting an alternative treatment from your doctor could do more harm than good.

Do not assume that marijuana is the only factor

Marijuana doesn’t cause infertility. It has been shown to have potential adverse effects on sperm, but this doesn’t guarantee that it will cause impotency. It’s especially important that you and your partner not use marijuana as a form of birth control because an unplanned pregnancy could be made worse by the fact that the mother was smoking before and during the pregnancy.

Do not smoke marijuana while pregnant

Even if you were prescribed with marijuana for medicinal purposes, for no reason should you be smoking it while pregnant. Inhaling smoke, whether it be from tobacco or marijuana, during pregnancy has revealed adverse health effects to the developing fetus. Smoking while pregnant has often resulted in stillbirths, miscarriages, and premature births. Marijuana use has also been linked to other adverse health effects in babies, including asthma, low birth weight, and cognitive issues that reveal themselves between the ages of three and four such as poor memory and reasoning skills.

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Infertility is a sensitive and complex issue among couples. The best way to combat this issue head on is to speak with a medical professional together as a couple, without placing blame or injecting guilt onto each other. Marijuana consumption is one of many potential factors that could contribute to infertility, so if either you or your partner uses this drug for strictly recreational purposes, consider eliminating it to see if this helps. Otherwise, getting assessed by a doctor is the most effective way to uncover what’s causing the inability to become pregnant and to then find potential solutions or treatment options.

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Muhammad A. Mirza, M.D.Founder and Board Certified in Internal Medicine

Dr. Muhammad Mirza, M.D. is the Medical Director at Doctor Available, LLC, based in New Jersey, and the founder of He is board certified in internal medicine and has had extensive experience as a practicing clinical physician...

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