Trying to Conceive? Lay Off the Pot!

A Canadian fertility doctor in Ontario, and fellow endocrinologist have published key points about cannabis use and reduced fertility in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Since legalizing recreational marijuana in October 2018, important questions about its use and possible negative health effects remain unanswered. Specifically, how does cannabis effect female and male reproductive tissues?

Lead author Dr. Sara Ilnitsky, advises some studies suggest that changes in ovulation patterns and reduced sperm motility are associated with smoking cannabis and could compound the frustrations of a couple trying to conceive.

Dr. Ilnitsky further advises that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, acts on the body's endocannabinoid system, which is part of the reproductive tissues of both men and women. The concern now is that research is limited but suggests marijuana may delay or inhibit ovulation and lower sperm counts.

Dr. Ilnitsky believes since October 2018, Canada is uniquely positioned to conduct research on this subject. She urges a prioritization of funding.

More research is urgently needed given the prevalence of marijuana use in Ontario. However, researcher Sarah Kimmins at McGill University appropriately summarizes the concerns, "The consensus for people working in fertility and in andrology is that the effects of cannabis are primarily negative in terms of sperm health and fertility so we know use of cannabis recreationally is associated with about a 30 per cent reduction in sperm number and also a decline in sperm function."

Total Wellness practitioners support a research and fact-based approach to health care. Our clinic’s philosophy is that couples trying to conceive should address all lifestyle factors and try to optimize their health and probability for successfully conceiving and carrying a healthy baby to term.