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How pot affects fertility

THE SCIENCE

According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, marijuana usage by both males and females doesn’t make it more difficult to get pregnant.

EXPERT INSIGHT

Previous research has shown that marijuana has negative effects on reproductive hormones, ovulation, and semen quality, which was believed to make it harder to conceive. But the new study, which was one of the first to actually test conception rates, found no significant difference among users and non-users.

Many states are legalizing marijuana and it has become less taboo, which has likely influenced people to smoke pot while they’re trying to conceive or during pregnancy, says study author Lauren Wise, Sc.D., a professor in the department of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health. Wise and her team asked people to report how often they’d used marijuana during the two months before conception. But, they didn’t ask about participants' prior smoking habits. So, researchers aren’t sure if chronic use has a different effect on conception compared to acute use.

THE BOTTOM LINE

“More research is needed on possible health effects before saying it’s okay for people to have a more relaxed attitude towards marijuana use during pre-conception,” says Wise. However, what we do know is that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommends against smoking during pregnancy because of potential complications, including low birth weight.