“More research is needed,” Harlow said.
Mitch Earleywine, an advisory board member of NORML, the pro-marijuana nonprofit organization, agreed that this study cannot prove a direct cause-and-effect link.
While the researchers did a “stellar job” of accounting for other factors that can increase miscarriage risk, he said, “We should keep in mind that marijuana use was not assigned at random here.” Earleywine is a professor of psychology with the State University of New York at Albany.
There are cannabinoid receptors within both sperm and male testicular tissue, indicating that the chemicals in pot do have some direct effect on male reproductive health, said Dr. Harris Nagler, a fertility expert with the Smith Institute of Urology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Great Neck, N.Y.
Based on that, Nagler would recommend that men abstain from pot while they’re trying to conceive.
Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y, agreed, noting that, “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.”
Although more study is needed, fertility expert Dr. Taraneh Nazem also thinks that “we should be counseling male patients about these preliminary findings.” She is an assistant clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
“I think we have enough evidence to suggest there is a potential negative impact from marijuana use on male fertility,” said Nazem. “If a male patient is trying to conceive with his partner, I would counsel him to make some lifestyle modifications based on this preliminary data.”
“The millions of regular marijuana users who have successfully sired children with ease will balk at the idea, 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,” Earleywine said.
The study was to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, in Philadelphia. Research presented at medical meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
WebMD News from HealthDay
SOURCES: Alyssa Harlow, M.P.H., doctoral student, Boston University School of Public Health; Harris Nagler, M.D., fertility expert, Smith Institute of Urology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Great Neck, N.Y.; Taraneh Nazem, M.D., assistant clinical professor, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D, professor, psychology, State University of New York at Albany; Scott Krakower, D.O., assistant unit chief, psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y.; Oct. 14, 2019, presentation, American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting, Philadelphia
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