Could Guys Smoking Pot Increase Miscarriage Rates?


Pot Smoking And Miscarriages

Is male pot use connected to or associated with infertility? A new study seems to be laying the groundwork for saying so. But, of course, more research is needed to say for sure.

Alyssa Harlow, a doctoral student at the Boston University School of Public Health, has recently released new data concerning how men’s marijuana use affects sperm quality and miscarriages. Harlow and her team gathered data from more than 1,400 couples in the United States and Canada for over two months. Men were asked if they used pot less than once a week, once or more a week, or never. Ultimately, 8 percent of men said they used it at least weekly. Meanwhile, 82 percent said that they never use it.

On top of this data, nearly 19 percent of couples who did conceive a child ended up reporting a miscarriage. And the association between frequent pot use and miscarriage was fairly constant. According to UPI, researchers even restricted their analysis to couples with women who didn’t use pot. That said, those couples even had doubled the risk of miscarriage if the man used pot at least once a week. This was on top of factoring in other controls like smoking status, caffeine intake, weight, sleep depravity, STI history, and more.

“More research is needed,” said Harlow after releasing the data. Despite the evidence of an association, she’s aware that other factors could be at play here.

Expert Thoughts

After the release of Harlow’s data, health experts and science experts repeated the stance that more data is needed to be sure of the results. That said, most also suggested men and women restrain from using marijuana when trying to conceive. Just to be safe.

As Dr. Jennifer Ashton told ABC News:

“The caveats. This study was done by association. Not cause and effect. So it definitely needs more research. And there is not yet peer-reviewed data here. But this abstract did win a prize at the largest reproductive medicine meeting in the world that’s going on today. So, it’s getting a lot of attention.”

She then emphasized the man’s part within fertility and conception.

“We’re used to putting all the focus, all the blame, all the stress on the women. And the world of male fertility is really exploding. So I think there are some basic recommendations that men can do. Number one, no smoking. That’s bad for both the man and the women. They want to minimize exposure to high temperatures. Don’t overdo alcohol. That’s important for general health. And exercising regularly. And again, 40% of couples in fertility is due to male factor. So it bares repeating we need to focus on the men just as much as the women.”

As Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital, said to UPI, “This study suggests a potential link, and men should be aware of the negative implications it could have. As there is a variable time it can remain in your bloodstream, both men and women should avoid use altogether when planning for a family.”

Meanwhile, Mitch Earleywine, an advisory board member of the pro-marijuana nonprofit organization, told UPI that the study does not prove a direct cause-and-effect between male pot use and miscarriages.

“The millions of regular marijuana users who have successfully sired children with ease will balk at the idea,” he said. “But those couples who've endured this outcome can certainly consider decreasing frequency of use for a few months in an effort to have children.”

h/t: UPI, ABC News, The Washington Post