Cannabis and Conception

Often, we find that patients have a lot of questions based on popular tropes about fertility and pregnancy, as well as some newer concerns regarding modern life. Our patients are sometimes concerned, for instance, how their normal daily activities might affect their prospects for conceiving. Will they need to change or curtail certain habits and indulgences in order to better their chances of conception? And, although the questions vary from patient to patient, there are some concerns which show up more than others. One of the more prominent questions we receive is how cannabis usage may affect fertility opportunities.

It’s no surprise, as the national conversation about cannabis continues, and more individuals turn to this product for medicinal and recreational purposes, there will be more conversations occurring in doctors’ offices, across the US. In Florida, for example, cannabis is legal for medicinal patients. Thus, some of our patients are using this product for various medical conditions. At Viera Fertility, our focus is on fertility and conception. Our conversation here will be less focused on the legality or prescriptive qualities of cannabis. We will focus more on the effects this plant can have on a patient’s chances of conceiving and carrying to term. Let’s look at what some research says about the effects of cannabis on fertility and conception.

A Harvard Study; Does Cannabis Use Impede Conception?

According to a study published January 11th, 2021 in Human Reproduction and made available through Harvard Health Publishing, cannabis use does seem to correlate with reduced rates of conception. The study was conducted with 1200 participants. All of the participants had previously experienced either one or two miscarriages, prior to the study. The women were tracked for “six monthly cycles” and the women who were able to conceive continued to be tracked and studied throughout their pregnancies, to term. The study found that women who were regularly using cannabis were 40% less likely to become pregnant, per cycle. Overall, pregnancy rates were divided, with 42% of the cannabis users becoming pregnant, versus a 66% rate for non-users. It was noted that further research was needed to confirm results. However, this study is consistent with others which indicate lesser chances for conception among cannabis users. It was also noted that miscarriage rates did not change between cannabis and non-cannabis users.

In a related study, titled Cannabis and Male Fertility: A Systematic Review, it was concluded that cannabis use may negatively affect fertility levels in males. With evidence from previous studies involving animals and humans, it was found that sperm counts decreased among test subjects using cannabis. As with the first study, it was noted that further research needed to be conducted to validate the findings.

In both reports, a relatively small test group was used. Greater aggregate numbers, garnered from more tests, will help to develop a clearer understanding of the effects of cannabis on fertility. According to these studies, one may conclude there is growing evidence to point to cannabis usage impeding an individual or individuals’ chances for fertility success, both for men and women. Patients may consider curtailing cannabis use while attempting to become pregnant, especially for couples already experiencing problems conceiving. At the same time, much of the research in this area is new so more data is needed. The correlation between the two will continue to be of great interest.

Questions and Concerns

At Viera Fertility, our number one goal is to help patients to feel comfortable asking all of their questions. Infertility can feel overwhelming, but we are here to help and to tell you there is hope. We discuss fertility treatment options for both male and female patients. We treat each patient as the individual they are and tailor our services to their specific needs. For patients in and around the Melbourne area, we offer a wide variety of fertility tests and treatments. Additionally, we provide detailed consultations so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.