“Elizabeta,” my 90 year old, very Italian, unusually new-fashioned uncle once said to me, “if you ever feel like a loser, just remember: when that gun went off, you were the fastest sperm.” While situations like this sometimes make me wish I was not, in fact, the fastest sperm, new research out of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark indicates that one behavior that many college-aged males regularly partake in can significantly decrease the likelihood that the “little guys” ever get to run the race.
It is the drug that is sweeping the nation- or at least Colorado and Washington. It is a buzzword in many American households, a hot topic amongst public figures and policy makers, and the #1 reason that Americans travel to Amsterdam (probably.) You guessed it- I am about to deliver some very bad news to rap stars and college men alike regarding their favorite plant.
Researchers asked 1,215 Danish men, aged 18-28 to answer questions about the frequency of their exposure to marijuana. The men then underwent a physical examination and gave blood and semen samples. The findings suggest that men who smoke marijuana at least once per week have approximately 55% lower sperm counts, 52% lower sperm concentrations, and an unquantifiably lower level of sperm quality than men who do not smoke the drug. It is important to note that many of the participants who reported recent and frequent exposure to marijuana also reported exposure to other recreational drugs, like cigarettes and alcohol products, but the researchers did not find any reason to conclude that these variables significantly altered the results.
How is marijuana working to lower the quantity and quality of young men’s sperm? While the answer to that question is unclear, researchers hypothesize that THC- the psychoactive ingredient in Mary J- somehow reacts with a receptor in the testes, altering the little swimmers.
This is perhaps devastating news for many proud owners of the “dad bod”, but the truth hurts, gentlemen. If you ever want to rock a baby to sleep, you might want to party like a rockstar a little less often.
If this article interests you, check out the paper in the American Journal of Epidemiology (printed August 16,2015)!