The Effects of Marijuana on Fertility and Pregnancy

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Infertility is a common issue faced by many couples, with lifestyle factors such as smoking being linked to lower sperm production. However, the impact of marijuana smoking on fertility and pregnancy has been a topic of debate. In this blog post, we will delve into the research surrounding regular and irregular marijuana usage and its effects on sperm count, fertility, and pregnancy.

Regular Marijuana Smoking and Sperm Count

A study conducted on over a thousand men found that regular cannabis smoking (more than once a week) was associated with a 28% lower sperm concentration and lower overall sperm count. However, no adverse effects were found for irregular usage, which refers to smoking marijuana less than once a week. It is important to note that this study was not randomized, and other factors associated with regular cannabis use may have influenced the results. Nevertheless, the study did account for variables such as cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Marijuana Usage and Female Fertility

Similar to men, women who used marijuana more than 90 times in their lifetime or within a year had about a quarter fewer eggs recovered. This finding was observed in a study conducted on hundreds of infertile couples in California. Medical authorities recommend that women who are considering pregnancy should discontinue marijuana use and avoid it during pregnancy or lactation. However, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine suggests that the benefits of breastfeeding currently outweigh any potential harm for women who continue to smoke marijuana.

Increasing Marijuana Usage Among Pregnant Women

Despite the warnings from medical authorities, the use of marijuana among pregnant women has increased in recent years. However, the frequency of usage among pregnant women remains less than half that of non-pregnant women. While some studies claim significant birth defect risks associated with maternal marijuana use, it is challenging to determine the direct effects on fetal development due to confounding factors that studies may not have been able to fully control.

Long-Term Effects on Learning Abilities

Research also suggests a link between prenatal cannabis exposure and learning difficulties later in life, which may manifest during school years. This raises concerns about the potential long-term effects on brain development. Therefore, it is advisable for pregnant and breastfeeding women to reduce or, if possible, completely cease marijuana use.


While irregular marijuana usage does not appear to have adverse effects on fertility and pregnancy, regular usage has been associated with lower sperm count and egg recovery. The potential risks of maternal marijuana use on fetal development and long-term learning abilities warrant caution. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consider reducing or discontinuing marijuana use to ensure the best possible outcomes for themselves and their babies.

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