In 2020, citizens of Arizona voted to approve Proposition 207, legalizing the possession and use of marijuana. The state joins 14 others, including California, where marijuana use is now legal.
At San Diego Sperm Bank, our experts field questions from donors and potential donors about how marijuana may affect sperm count and overall sperm health. To help answer those questions, we’ve looked at some studies detailing possible connections between marijuana use and sperm health.
Links Between Marijuana and Sperm Count
Although more testing and research is needed to reach conclusive results, enough has been done to confirm that regular marijuana use (or more than once a week) does seem to negatively affect overall sperm health and can make men less fertile. Studies have found that heavy use (generally defined as daily or multiple times per day) does decrease a man’s sperm count, but the evidence for less frequent users is still inconclusive and sometimes contradictory. Some of the key findings include:
- Enough evidence exists to suggest a negative connection between marijuana use and sperm health. This includes sperm motility, or its ability to move, which affects how well a sperm cell can reach and fertilize a women’s egg. While more research is needed, many compounds found within marijuana, including Tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), is known to damage sperm cells.
- A majority of fertility experts advise men not to use marijuana if they are trying to conceive a child with their spouse or partner.
- One study found that men who smoked marijuana had significantly higher sperm concentrations over men who had never smoked.
- There may also be a potential connection between marijuana use and erectile dysfunction, though not enough evidence exists to definitely settle the issue.
While SDSB does not disqualify men who use marijuana from joining our program, it’s important to understand that regular pot use can damage sperm health. This can affect whether you are selected as a sperm donor as well as your starting a family of your own.