Marijuana and fertility

According to a new study by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine, marijuana use – by either men or women – does not appear to lower a couple’s changes of getting pregnant.

The study, which has been published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH), was carried out by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

“Given the increasing number of states legalizing recreational marijuana across the nation, we thought it was an opportune time to investigate the association between marijuana use and fertility,” says lead author Lauren Wise, professor of epidemiology.

4,194 women and 1,125 males surveyed

The study, which was web-based, involved 4,194 women aged 21 to 45 living in the USA or Canada.

The study specifically targeted women who were in stable relationships and who were neither using contraception nor undergoing any fertility treatment.

Female participants in the study were given the option to invite their male partners to enrol in the study. In total, this brought in 1,125 males.

Marijuana use

During the period from 2013 through 2017, approximately 14% of male participants and approximately 12% of female participants self-reported marijuana use in the two months before completing the baseline survey.

After 12 cycles of follow-up, researchers could see that the probability of conceiving were the same for couples that reported using marijuana as for couples that did not.


In their paper, researchers have stressed the difficulty of classifying people correctly based on self-reported data.

“Future studies with day-specific data on marijuana use might better be able to distinguish acute from chronic effects of marijuana use, and evaluate whether effects depend on other factors,” they wrote.

Read more

Marijuana use and fecundability in a North American preconception cohort study

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2017; jech-2017-209755

DOI: 10.1136/jech-2017-209755

Authors: Lauren A Wise, Amelia K Wesselink, Elizabeth E Hatch, Kenneth J Rothman, Ellen M Mikkelsen, Henrik Toft Sørensen, Shruthi Mahalingaiah.

About marijuana

Marijuana consists of the dried flowers and subtending leaves and stems of the female Cannabis sativa plant. The main psychoactive part of marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The THC content in marijuana varies widely. THC has a low toxicity and marijuana has not been reported to cause fatal overdose in humans1.

The Cannabis sativa plant is indigenous to eastern Asia. It has been cultivated throughout recorded history and utilised for religious, spiritual, medical and recreational purposes. The plant also have a very long history as food, a source of seed oil and a source of industrial fibre for rope, cloth, etc. Its use for fabric and rope dates back to the Neolithic age in China and Japan. Exactly when the psychoactive properties of cannabis were discovered remains unknown.

Over 500 different compounds have been detected in Cannabis sativa, including well over a hundred different cannabinoids. Most of these cannabinoids are only present in trace amounts. One notable exception is cannabidiol (CBD) which is present in high concentrations in some plants and will block the psychoactive effects of THC in the human nervous system.


1Calabria B; et al. (May 2010). “Does cannabis use increase the risk of death? Systematic review of epidemiological evidence on adverse effects of cannabis use”. Drug Alcohol Rev29 (3): 318–30. doi:10.1111/j.1465-3362.2009.00149.xPMID 20565525.