Despite the fact that we have known since 1973 certain things about how cannabis can affect a woman's reproductive health, there is still little to know at this point in a field that has been widely understudied. What we do know, however, is that cannabinoid levels soar during ovulation, and that there is strong evidence to suggest that cannabis can have potentially negative effects on a woman's reproductive health as a whole – namely, infertility.
This discovery was made after an experiment performed on the tissues of mice showed that THC inhibits both ovulation and the production of eggs. This is supported by the fact that marijuana users have been shown to have less success with IVF, or in vitro fertilization. Users have lower quality eggs and lower rates of pregnancy than those who do not use cannabis products. How, though, does this affect a woman's chances of becoming pregnant in the first place?
Well, it seems that another component of cannabis – ECS – also has a hand in hampering the body's process of formulating tiny contractions that push an embryo out of a woman's oviduct and into her uterus. This certainly makes sense, considering how marijuana has been proven to have an anti-cramping and anti-convulsive effect.
In fact, this is why marijuana is used as treatment for such ailments as Crohn's disease and epilepsy. However, while anti-cramping and anti-convulsions are desired in the latter, when a woman is trying to get pregnant, you can see why this would become a problem. As of right now, because the female reproductive system has been so poorly studied, it is difficult to determine just how much of an effect ECS plays on a woman's ability to get pregnant. However, this news is certainly worth pushing for further research.
It isn't just the female marijuana user that may have an effect on her ability to get pregnant, but also her partner. Marijuana can affect everything from a man's testosterone levels to his sperm production. A study published by the New York Times in 1981 explored how marijuana impacts the male sex drive. For one thing, marijuana increases testosterone and other sex hormones, but it also can cause testosterone to suddenly drop. Other sex hormones have been shown to drop suddenly and significantly as well in men who are chronic cannabis users.
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Center in San Antonio discovered that higher doses of THC cause testosterone to rise to six times its normal level during the first 20 minutes of a man smoking pot. In smaller doses, THC caused a testosterone spike that lasted for about an hour before the man's levels began to normal out again.
Insofar as sperm production, men who regularly smoke marijuana and who are younger than 30 years old can actually be changing the size and shape of their sperm. The abundance of sperm cells that are abnormally shaped can make it more difficult for couples to have a baby. Thus, in short, for those who want to pursue having a family, if they are chronic users of cannabis, they should seriously consider abstaining from the drug altogether.