A study made by the Harvard Medical School has concluded that sperm in long term cannabis users could contain Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Researchers recollected data from 12 patients in order to determine whether THC can cross the blood testicular barrier. Still many questions are left open and the study didn’t try to answer how cannabis could affect the reproductive system.
According to a recent study by a team of researchers at Harvard Medical School, sperm can sometimes contain Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
In a study of 12 participants who regularly used cannabis, researchers were able to detect delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, in semen samples from two subjects. And at least one metabolite of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which remains after the body has processed the compound, could be detected in all samples.
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Could cannabis impact fertility in mean if consumed without any control?
Why focus on Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in semen? One reason is to try to measure the impact of cannabis on fertility. Men of childbearing age, the authors of the study note, “are the most common cannabis users, with 19.4% of men in the United States reporting use.
A 2018 study cited by the authors found that 16.5% of men and 11.5% of women reported using cannabis while trying to conceive.
Exactly how Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) affects reproductive systems and child development are questions that the Harvard authors do not attempt to answer in the study. The main objective of the research “was to determine whether Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can cross the blood testicular barrier,” which they seem to have been able to determine.
“As part of the growing body of evidence surrounding the effects of the endocannabinoid system on the regulation and maintenance of fertility and early pregnancy,” says the study, “our report is the first to show that the exogenous cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be detected in a reproductive matrix.”
Research goes deep into long-term cannabis users
Because of the need to detect Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), researchers have focused on regular and long-term cannabis users. All participants indicated that they had used cannabis between 25 and 30 days in the previous month, and most reported that they had been regular users for at least five years. “Therefore,” the team said, “the results of our study cannot be generalized to include all users, whether moderate or light.”
“It is disconcerting that some, but not all, semen samples tested positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),” the study says. “Future (research) directions need to identify characteristics that may affect the levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) detectable in semen. “
It is still difficult to say with certainty and precision how Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) affects sperm, or the effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on fertility and conception. Studies are rare and often contradictory.
A study of 1,200 young Danes, for example, found that those who regularly smoked cannabis had lower sperm counts than those who did not smoke. Another study of 662 older men in Massachusetts found that men who had ever smoked cannabis had significantly higher sperm counts than those who had abstained.
“The ability to quantify cannabinoids in human reproductive tissues and fluids,” they concluded, “gives us the ability to directly study the effects of cannabis on the early stages of human reproduction.”
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