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Cannabis Smoking Associated with Higher Sperm Count, Study Finds (bloomberg.com)
76 points by pseudolus 42 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 51 comments



Just thought I would share that lately I vape marijuana via my PAX3 vape roughly twice a day. I am going through a stressful period, and probably don’t consume it as often normally. But once a day has been typical for me for the past few years.

Something I have observed is that I used to drink alcohol daily. Now I don’t. I’m not sure if it was personality changes or my brain just wanting something, but either way the vape feels way healthier for my body than drinking. I can’t believe I used to drink every day, alcohol is crazy bad for your body.

I think marijuana helps me cope a lot with life. When I don’t vape, stress builds up in my life. I think I do have ways of processing stress without the help of any substances, but I’ve found that even when I’m using much less, some marijuana on the weekends helps me process my stress, chill out, sometimes cry, and get past the hard parts of life.

For everyone out there that still believes the crazy stories about marijuana that many of us (myself included) were told, don’t believe that stuff. Like alcohol, marijuana offers the potential for abuse. But it’s not the devil substance so much propaganda has taught us.


I came to similar conclusions, but then later realized that cannabis was simply making me numb in certain ways. (Subtly dangerous ways, in my case at least. My empathy became retarded.) Sedation and analgesia are incredibly useful tools but ought to be treated with care. Most pain is there for a reason and most of it can be altered, dissolved, or accepted.


I think this is a great observation and I'd like to add to it. I've used it nightly for many years with some breaks of various lengths and am back on a break from it. My mental acuity and ambition have shot back up after a week of discontinued use. I'm a very nice person but it does affect your ability to be empathetic which I'd call almost a creative process although we've been taught or at least repeat that weed is supposed to help creativity. This may go hand in hand with the mental acuity. Luckily I am aware of the importance of and have the capability to stop when I endure a large life change and realize the need to process these things in a sober way. However, once these fade I find myself slipping down into the hole of "well it's ok to use on weekends" -> "it's ok to use on week nights as long as I don't have anything important going on" -> "I don't know how I'd fall asleep without it". So therein lies the danger and as someone who is fairly young especially for the crowd here, I'm actually quite frightened that this may hinder my ability to do fulfilling and ambitious things in life.


I also want to add another personal experience: Cannabis cookies were extremely beneficial to a loved one after an amputation.


I quit marijuana 2 months ago being a smoker since 15 (11 years). I felt it was making me stupid. I never really was much of a drinker, but now that I've quit weed, I probably have 3-4 beers a night. Drinking definitely makes me feel worse than smoking weed, but I think long-term weed use might be worse for your brain.

Ideally I wouldn't be drinking or smoking, but there's this urge inside of me that just makes me need to do something to change my cognition.


It could be worth seeing a Doctor about it honestly, or a counsellor/therapist. They might even suggest CBT, which could be beneficial to you. Mindfulness practice may also help you.

Good luck!


Just some anecdata and personal experience, feel free to disregard:

Smoking marijuana for 11 years is a long-term habit. I, personally, wouldn't expect to just be able to stop and not have something else to fill the gap that used to be filled by cannabis. To me, it totally makes sense that you're now drinking every night. Have you tried tapering off of alcohol slowly? I have an extremely addictive personality and whenever I have had to quit a substance (tobacco, caffeine, etc), slowly tapering has been the most effective method for me. Rather than suddenly opening a large habitual gap, it slowly shrinks the gap and allows me to acclimate gradually.


Everyone should choose for themselves of course, but once a day for three+ years is more than plenty to hinder proper REM sleep and start damaging your ability to handle those emotions that are contributing to your sense of stress. Take a month off, you might be surprised what comes up after a few weeks without the vape.


> But it’s not the devil substance so much propaganda has taught us.

I think the danger with many psychoactive substances is the diminishing ability to judge what "normal" is. And that applies to all sorts of stuff, legal and not.

Might be worth considering removing the crutches for a couple of months, dealing with life head-on, and seeing if it's really so bad.


"... men with higher sperm concentrations are likely to have more testosterone in their bodies and thus may be more likely to smoke marijuana because simply they are willing to take more risks."


So you smoke marijuana because you have a high sperm count and not the other way round...


Immediately followed by: “In conclusion, I am not convinced that this paper moves us any further forward in this debate.”


To be clear, the researchers feel that the results should be taken with caution and the points mentioned in this comment thread are possible hypothesis that are also scientifically untested and such opinions should be interpreted with extreme caution.

The title of the article states the facts, and how the fact came to be has not yet been tested.


Too late, you already clicked the clickbait anti-science journalism and the journalist can get paid another day :-)


Some Ayurvedic formulations intended for increasing sperm count also uses Cannabis among other things.


> Ayurvedic formulations

“Although laboratory experiments suggest it is possible that some substances used in Ayurveda might be developed into effective treatments, there is no scientific evidence that any are effective as currently practiced. Ayurveda medicine is considered pseudoscientific.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda


https://examine.com/supplements/bacopa-monnieri/

https://examine.com/supplements/ashwagandha/

Obviously the practice of Ayurveda isn't scientifically based. But there is plenty of scientific evidence that the herbs used in Ayurveda are effective.(not necessarily at everything but certainly for some things)


Ayurveda was established well before the modern scientific processes came into being. So yeah it could be considered pseudoscientific in the modern sense. But it does have an effect on many conditions. Talking from personal experience.


That's basically the stupidest assumption you could possibly make. On the one hand, you have thousands of years of anecodata compiled by billions of people. On the other hand, you have the fact that no white people have yet studied any Indian herbs. Not that they have studied it and didn't find anything, but just that they haven't gotten around to it yet (partly because there's not much profit motive). But somehow the default assumption is to shame people for recommending traditional treatments, even when the risk of trying something that doesn't work is very low and the potential to help people who are suffering is great.

Except that isn't even accurate analysis of what's going on, because tons of ayurvedic herbs HAVE been studied and they have been found to have powerful effects. Check examine.com for like the top 10 most prescribed ayuverdic herbs and you'll find a wealth of proven biologic activity and pharmacologic activity.


>> On the one hand, you have thousands of years of anecodata compiled by billions of people

That or you have fourty years of urban legends and billions who believe it without checking any facts.


Actually, much more than 40 years. Many of the practitioners acquire their practice and knowledge from their parents. And the parents from their own parents. I am talking from what I've seen and experienced first hand. They also learn Vaastu and Astrology among other things. In addition, Ayurvedic Colleges are also there supported by the Indian Govt.


First. "no white people have yet studied any Indian herbs." directly contradicts "tons of ayurvedic herbs HAVE been studied".

Second. You know what studied and proven to be effective plants and herbs are called? Drugs/medicine.


> No white people have yet studied any Indian herbs

Someone wants a cup of tea?


Except that more and more research is showing us that marijuana simply doesn't have anything close to the risk profile that alarmists have claimed. It may even be a net positive, healthwise.

So that blows this argument out of the water. Cause it's not actually a risk.


Did I read that right? Sperm counts increased by 420%?


From the article:

Analysis of the semen samples showed that men who had smoked marijuana had average sperm concentrations of 62.7 million sperm per millilitre (million/mL). Those who had never smoked a joint had an average count of 45.4 million/mL.


I believe the GP was making a joke in reference to the number 420 and its association with "cannabis culture," as Wikipedia refers to it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/420_(cannabis_culture)


They didn't increase, they were higher by. Increase would imply correlation, which would require a rigorous, controlled intervention al trial.

This study was simply a self-reported survey attempting to correlate past marijuana abuse with sperm counts, making it hard to control a number of factors such as honesty of self-reporting, exact historical use patterns, and representativity (the fact that 55% of respondents used an illegal drug when no attempt was made to generate such a high figure, when only 9.4% of the >12yo American population uses any illegal drugs, should be a warning that there may be external correlating factors not controlled for) of the general population. Most importantly, though, the study didn't actually measure the marijuana used, because it's an observational study and it's just measuring past use. You'd need to get the UMiss official research marijuana, and use a fixed dosing protocol over the interventional group, to make a claim about how much sperm counts increased as a result of marijuana use.

As the study notes, it's equally possible that high testosterone levels may predispose one to marijuana abuse, or that there is no causal link at all. Interesting and valid paper, but it does not justify any claims of A increasing B.

meritt 41 days ago [flagged]

> "marijuana abuse"

> "illegal drug"

Holy fucking bias.

1) There's nothing to support that the study participants were abusing marijuana

2) Medical marijuana was legalized in California in 1996 and numerous other states until recreational legalization began in 2012. This study was conducted from 2000 - 2017 so it stands to reason that many of these users were completely legal under their state jurisdiction at the time. Obviously it's been illegal on a federal level the entire time.

3) The 55% is the percentage that had ever used it. A study by the National Institute of Health [1] conducted in 2017 found that 45.20% of the 12yr+ respondents said they had used it at least once in their lifetime (and 52.7% of the 18-26 cohort).

I'm not even here to defend whether or not this study in particular is rigorous or not, but you need to drop the 1971 War on Drugs propaganda.

[1] https://www.drugabuse.gov/national-survey-drug-use-health


Except for the recent decisions of Uruguay and Canada, marijuana use, all countries party to the UN International Drug Control Convention strictly prohibit non-research use of marijuana, so unless this use occurred only extremely recently in one of those two countries or was part of a research program, it was illegal at the time.


This was likely in MA, not CA. It is marijuana abuse because it’s illegal to use.


1) People can travel between states, or even to other countries, during a lifetime.

2) MA legalized medical usage in 2013.

3) "Drug abuse" has nothing to do with the legality of the substance. It's whether or not the substance impairs the individual and that it was used for non-medicinal purposes.


> It is marijuana abuse because it’s illegal to use.

Maybe Marlene Mortler will agree with you, but that's a ridiculous statement.


"the fact that 55% of respondents used an illegal drug when no attempt was made to generate such a high figure, when only 9.4% of the >12yo American population uses any illegal drugs, should be a warning that there may be external correlating factors not controlled for"

Do you think that middle aged men without children smoke weed at the same rate as the group you described?


"On average the men were 36 years old, mostly white and college educated.

All of them belonged to couples seeking help with conception from a fertility clinic."

*record scratch Wait wut?


You're confused why they're at a fertility clinic if they have a high sperm count? Conception is a two player co-op game and you can't carry your partner.


It's a weird selection of a focus group though. And nothing warrants this headline (although it's par for the course in 2019).


Maybe that's just the only place they could get data


No kidding... This probably means that Cannabis causes infertity by some means other than lowering sperm count. Imagine the statistic: gang members admitted to the hospital were 40 percent less likely than non gang members to be diagnosed with heart disease. That's probably not because they eat a healthy diet and exercise. It's probably because the rest of the population is less likely to be diagnosed with a gunshot wound.


You have missed the point. Nothing in the study mentions a higher rate of reported cannabis use than in the general population. The record scratch is due to implying generalisations based only on a non-typical population of infertile couples without any control.


The previous studies are very likely biased studies created as an anti-marijuana scheme but now that it's going legal real studies are being done and discovering the fraud.

As science moves forward, we will continue to restudy and discover more and more bad science.


Alternate take: now that there's serious money to be made in the cannabis industry, there will be more and more bad science about how there aren't risks associated with its use, just as there has been with literally every other recreational drug that is legal and many high-dollar pharmaceuticals.


Reminds me of:

* Drinking coffee 3 times a day is good for heart.

* Smoking cigarette can help in weight loss.

* Eating caveman's diet in modern era will help in healthy life.

Who is sponsoring these research? Makers of these products?


Did they properly control for age?


Another study recently pointed to higher risks of poor health and chronic illness in children fathered by heavy cannabis smokers, so YMMV.


That would be consistent with highly fertile cannabis users having more unwanted children than the less fertile non-using population. So YMMNV.


Not sure I follow, you mean cancer is a byproduct of being unwanted?


Cannabis also seems to have some relation to Testicular cancer; e.g. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812006/


That study shows it has no relation...


My GF would complain a lot about me smoking and found study saying smoking cannabis reduces speem count. In return I found study saying smoking pot doesn’t impact conception rates.


Once it is decriminalized, now it is time to market it. Soon when it is legalized, they will start sponsoring Hollywood movies and fun begins.




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