Can Marijuana Seeds Prevent Pregnancy

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Marijuana smoking makes sperm less fertile — even if the woman is the one who smokes it, a new study suggests. Find out if smoking marijuana will get in the way of getting pregnant According to a recent study, reported on in Forbes magazine, the chemicals in marijuana may prevent pregnancy by making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

Smoking Marijuana Lowers Fertility

Oct. 13, 2003 — Smoking marijuana makes sperm less fertile — even if the woman is the one who smokes it, a new study shows.

Marijuana-smoking college men volunteered for the study led by Lani J. Burkman, PhD, director of andrology at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The smokers weren’t the only ones who got high. The drug affected their sperm, too. These stoned sperm party hard. And then? They burn out, researchers say.

“Marijuana-smoking men’s sperm are hyper. They are way out there,” Burkman tells WebMD. “They already have begun the vigorous swimming called hyperactivation. Sperm should be quiet at first. They should be waiting to be washed into cervix and approach the egg before they start hyperactivation.”

So the little guys are fast out of the gate, right? What’s wrong with a little head start?

“It is not a head start. They are going to blow it,” Burkman says. “They’re too fast, too early. Each individual sperm can maintain this swimming only so long, only several hours. Then it poops out. If it has run out of hyperactivation before it gets close to the egg, it will not fertilize. These sperm are going to burn out.”

Burkman announced the findings at this week’s meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

Marijuana and Fertility Timing

When it comes to romance, timing is everything. That holds true for fertility, too, says Celia E. Dominguez, MD, of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Emory University, Atlanta.

“The reason men have millions of sperm is because the fertility process is more difficult than people think,” Dominguez tells WebMD. “The whole process of ascending up the tract to the fallopian tubes and then finding the egg is delicately balanced.”

As the sperm approaches the egg, it receives a signal to start swimming — hard. This hyperactivation lets it push through the egg cover. Pooped out sperm don’t have a chance. Learn about more ways marijuana can affect fertility.

Of course, men who smoke marijuana do get women pregnant. But some men are more fertile than others, or are more fertile at different times of their lives. Smoking marijuana, Burkman warns, will make a borderline-infertile man frankly infertile.

“The marijuana-smoking men had significantly lower semen volume,” Burkman says. “Many had pretty low volume, about half the male norm. If they came to our clinic as patients, we’d tell them they are abnormal. . They are delivering significantly fewer sperm to the female when they have sexual intercourse.”

Women, Too

Burkman’s team studied only men. But she says that when women smoke marijuana, the active ingredient — THC — appears in their reproductive organs and vaginal fluids. Sperm exposed to this THC are likely to act just as sperm exposed to THC in the testes.

“When women smoke marijuana, nicotine, or other drugs, their reproductive fluids contain these drugs,” Burkman says. “The woman smoking marijuana is putting THC into her oviduct, into her cervix. If the man is not smoking but the woman is, his sperm go into her body and hit THC in the vagina, oviduct, and uterus. Her THC is changing his sperm.”

Dominguez says that Burkman’s study is more important than merely warning men and women to avoid marijuana if they want to get pregnant. She says that by learning how the reproductive tracts of men and women respond to different chemical signals, researchers will learn more about how to help people get pregnant — or even to avoid it.

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Show Sources

SOURCES: Burkman, L.J. “Marijuana Impacts Sperm function both In Vivo and In Vitro: Semen analyses from Men Smoking Marijuana,” Conference, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 11-15, 2003. Lani J. Burkman, PhD, director, andrology department, University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo, N.Y. Celia E. Dominguez, MD, Center for Reproductive Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta.

Will using marijuana affect our chances of getting pregnant?

It may. Some studies have shown that using marijuana repeatedly is associated with significantly lower concentrations of reproductive hormones in both men and women.

Lower concentrations of the hormone testosterone may result in decreased sperm counts in men. And lower dehydroepiandrosterone may affect egg production in women.

In addition, THC (one of the active ingredients in pot) makes its way into the reproductive tract of women using marijuana and reduces sperm mobility, decreasing the chances of fertilization.

Perhaps the best reason to give up drugs now is that it’s not safe to use pot during pregnancy.

Some studies suggest that using marijuana regularly during pregnancy puts your baby at higher risk for premature birth and low birth weight. And because smoking weed (or tobacco) increases carbon monoxide levels in the bloodstream, the baby gets less oxygen, which may affect his growth.

Other studies show that children exposed to marijuana in their mothers’ wombs have different brain activity and more disturbed sleeping patterns as toddlers. They may also eventually suffer from depression or have behavior problems, such as impulsiveness and attention deficits. And some studies point to a link between prenatal marijuana exposure and lower school test scores.

Plus, it can be difficult to tell if the pot you’re getting is pure. It may be contaminated with other drugs or herbicides that could put your baby-to-be at even greater risk. Even legal dispensaries are not closely regulated, although some claim that their products have been approved or certified.

If you use pot, I suggest waiting a month or so after your last hit before trying to conceive since it takes that long to get all traces of the drug out of your system.

If you’re using marijuana for medicinal purposes, talk with your healthcare provider about your plans to become pregnant. She may be able to suggest a safer alternative.

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BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

Burkman LJ, et al. 2003. Marijuana impacts sperm function both in vivo and in vitro: Semen analyses from men smoking marijuana. Fertility and Sterility 80(3):231. http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282%2803%2901534-6/fulltext [Accessed June 2016]

Fried PA, et al. 2003. Differential effects on cognitive functioning in 13- to 16-year-olds prenatally exposed to cigarettes and marihuana. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 25(4):427-36.

Goldschmidt L, et al. 2008. Prenatal marijuana exposure and intelligence test performance at age 6. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolesceny Psychiatry 47(3):254-63. [Accessed June 2016]

Goldschmidt L, et al. 2004. Prenatal marijuana and alcohol exposure and academic achievement at age 10. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 26(4):521–32. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15203174 [Accessed June 2016]

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Goldschmidt L, et al. 2000. Effects of prenatal marijuana exposure on child behavior problems at age 10. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 22(3):325-36.

Marijuana As Birth Control?

According to a recent study, reported on in Forbes magazine, the chemicals in marijuana may prevent pregnancy by making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

Dey, the Dorothy Overall Wells professor of pediatrics, cell and developmental biology and pharmacology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and his colleagues conducted their experiments in mice. It’s known that marijuana, the most widely used illegal drug among women of childbearing age, binds to two receptors, called cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and 2). These receptors are found in the brain and also in sperm, eggs and newly formed embryos.

Typically, the two receptors are activated by a signaling molecule called anandamide, which is synthesized by an enzyme known as NAPE-PLD and then is degraded by another enzyme called FAAH. This balance, or “tone,” of the anandamide is crucial for the embryo to develop normally.

Dey and his team suppressed FAAH activity in the mice. This increased the level of anandamide, which mimics what happens when a woman smokes marijuana and increases the level of THC, which binds to the same receptor as anandamide. The results showed that when FAAH activity is suppressed in the embryos and oviduct, anandamide levels rise, preventing the embryos from completing their passage to the uterus and compromising the pregnancy.

“This is a major finding,” said Dey, “that if you block FAAH and disturb anandamide levels, there is a compromised pregnancy outcome.”

.

In an accompanying commentary in the journal, Herbert Schuel, professor emeritus of anatomy and cell biology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, said the Dey study findings “show that exogenous THC can swamp endogenous anandamide signaling systems,” affecting many processes in the body.

And Schuel offered another warning: Several drugs in development to suppress appetite work by modifying anandamide signaling. Since many women of reproductive age take weight-loss drugs, he suggested that these drugs must be carefully evaluated to determine the long-term effects on women.

The point that the article didn’t touch on, and that interests me, is that these scientists have touched on a non-hormonal birth control. I wonder if this will be picked up on by a pharmaceutical company.

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this has already been studied a bit in research labs, and the ‘cure’ for hormonal birth control pills is still a long way away (if even possible through cannabinoid mediated mechanisms). From what I heard in a recent discussion, it’s not even close to 100% effective (and there’s no assurance that a cannabinoid based brith control would ever be fully efffective) and no one wants birth control that works 75% of the time. Maybe a few more years will find a way to make this a safer form of birth control. Also i’ve heard that smoking the ganja lowers sperm count, lowering the chance of pregnancy somewhat as well (though i’ve heard this just enough times to make me think it might be an urban legend, I’ll have to check later today).

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No no, they got it all wrong. It works as birth control for the following reason:
Him: Let’s do it! Nyahhhh! (stoner laugh)
Her: Alright. That’s cool.
pause
Him: What were we gonna do?
Her: I don’t know. Smoke some more hash?
Him: Nyahhhh. you said HASH. H-AAAAASH.
Her: My hands feel like birds. Hands are soooo cooollll.
both pass out

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Hmm. I wonder if the herb once used, and wiped out by, the Greeks (or was it Romans..) did that. Would love to see the reaction of the anti-choice movement to someone making a food supliment, unregulatable by the FDA, that just happened to work as a contraceptive as well. Assuming of course that other side effects didn’t arise.

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“Her: I don’t know. Smoke some more hash?”

who on the cosmic muffin’s green earth still uses the word HASH?

Aside from you Brandon, of course.

I don’t think that weed would kill sex drive at all.

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Haaaaash. Nyaaahhhahah.
Wait, why was I responding?

(j/k. I’ve heard say it plenty. Maybe it is a region specific preference, like soda, coke, pop, etc. hash is more surfer-ie. Weed is kinda high school or ghetto. Mary Jane is reserved for those over 40. Pot is a harsh word – too abrupt. Marijuana is what you call it in health class. A joint is a single object, as is a bowl, so wouldn’t work in the sentence. And my point wasn’t that it killed sex drive, just that they forgot they wanted to have sex. Grrr.. explained jokes never work. Bah humbug to you, sir!)

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Well I got it just fine. I think. my hands are birds. yesssss parrots. SQUAWK.

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Isn’t there some urban myth about weed decreasing sperm count? Killing two birds (or hands) with one stone (pun not intended, but definitely appreciated).

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Nyahahaaaa. you said stone.
.
.
Wait, what?

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There will be no discussion of killing birds on this here site. 🙂

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RPM, there was a 1978 paper, from Europe I think, that first kicked off this idea that smoking weed decreased sperm count (sperm density is a more accurate term). Lots of confounding variables that confuse the issue, and the subjects were called, “heavy users.” A group at SUNY Buffalo did, indeed, show in 1998 that physiologically-relevant THC interferes with fertilization via inhibiting acrosomal fusion with the egg – seems that endogenous anandamide is a positive modulator of sperm-egg fusion and THC can antagonize that positive effect.

However, even cigarette smoking can also lower sperm count. Moreover, THC is a potential steroid-mimetic in that it influences LH, testosterone, and prolactin levels; hence, heavy partakers of the blessed herb who are male can sometimes develop gynecomastia – haven’t yet heard of a similar effect in women, but must have been studied by pharma or academics because of potential blockbuster (pun intended) lifestyle drug formulation. Don’t know if a THC breast cream would be as dangerous as estrogen breast creams, the latter of which should never, ever, never, be used by young women due to a logical increased risk of breast cancer.

BTW, anandamide is intentionally taken from the Sanskrit word, ananada, meaning ‘bliss.’

But, enough, for now. I should be doing a proof on a certain young professor’s grant application! BTW, Shelleba, you make some really great observations and scientific assocaitions outside your primary field that would make you a valuable contributor in pharma. or if you want to start a dietary supplement company!

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