A bulletin from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) highlights a study reported in the journal Ferility and Sterility that for reproductive-age men and women in the United States trying to conceive, marijuana use, or frequency of use, is not associated with a longer time to pregnancy (TTP). Researchers retrospectively reviewed data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).
The study population under review included 758 men and 1076 female women between the ages of 15 and 44 who took part in the 2002, 2006-2010, and 2011-2015 NSFG who were trying to become pregnant.
The subjects’ intent to conceive and the duration of their attempts were ascertained by asking several questions. Women who were not pregnant or using contraception at the time they were surveyed, but who were sexually active, were asked whether the reason they were not using contraception was because they wanted to become pregnant. If they answered, “yes,” they were asked how long they had been trying. Men were asked about their partner’s current pregnancy status and the couple’s contraceptive usage and plans to conceive. Those men who were part of a couple trying to initiate pregnancy were asked how long they had been trying.
Men and women surveyed were asked about the frequency of their marijuana use over the previous 12 months: none, less than once a month, more than once a month, or weekly. While trying to conceive, 16.5% of men and 11.5% of women used marijuana.
The current duration of TTP for women and men who used marijuana at different frequencies was compared to the TTP of those who reported no use of the drug. Statistical analyses did not demonstrate any significant impact of marijuana use on TTP.
It’s important that these subjects were not being treated for infertility and it is recommended to abstain from marijuana when actively trying to conceive. According to the ASRM, the effects of marijuana and other recreational drugs are have not been clearly established. Nevertheless, such drug use generally should be discouraged for both men and women, particularly because they have well-documented harmful effects on the developing fetus. The small amount of information available suggests that cannabis use has a detrimental impact on male fertility. “With increasing legalization, it is likely that more and more patients who use marijuana either medicinally or recreationally will be attempting to have children. It is vital that we have accurate information so that we may counsel them effectively. The fact is there simply have not been enough quality studies to allow us to fully understand the relationship between marijuana use and male reproduction, but the limited information available suggests that marijuana adversely affects male fertility,” said Peter Schlegel, MD, Vice President of the ASRM.