June is Women’s Health Month and we’re talking about all things related to women’s health. But can a male partner’s substance use affect the female’s reproductive health? A new study says it may. Researchers found that women whose partners used marijuana had double the risk of miscarriage than those whose partners abstained.
Conducted at Boston University School of Public Health, the study monitored 1400 couples over 6 years and analyzed various lifestyle and behavioral data. Researcher Alyssa Harlow found that the link between a man’s marijuana use and a partner’s miscarriage persisted even when she accounted for whether or not the female partner used marijuana.
The association between a male partner’s marijuana use and miscarriage was most prevalent around the six-week mark of pregnancy. After eight weeks, the correlation dropped off, suggesting that the greatest risk is posed to early pregnancy. All forms of marijuana use– vaping, smoking, and ingesting– were included in the study and found to show equal effects.
One study is not enough to make a conclusive statement. More research is needed surrounding the effect of male marijuana use on pregnancy and miscarriage. However, the findings are of concern for anyone trying to conceive whilst a partner is using. The new study will present for peer-review in the near future.
Marijuana’s Effect on Sperm
Harlow cited marijuana’s documented effect on sperm health as the likely reason for marijuana’s effect on miscarriage in early pregnancy. Previous research has found a connection between lower sperm motility and quality in men who regularly use marijuana. As Harlow says, “there are cannabinoid receptors in human testicular tissue and sperm. When a man uses marijuana, THC binds to those receptors.”
As policies around marijuana change around the country, more studies are necessary to examine the potential effects of marijuana on human health. Further, it is clear that male and female health play a near equal role in fertility and pregnancy. Therefore more studies on the effects of male substance abuse on fertility are necessary.
Male Effect on Fertility, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage
Often when a couple is planning to have a baby, the focus is on the female partner’s health. Many women will abstain from alcohol and drug use when they are planning to get pregnant in order to protect the fetus from any ill effects. But this new data suggests that males should also be taking precautions and abstaining from drug use when trying to conceive. Furthermore, one study from China found that a man’s alcohol consumption can affect an embryo as much or more than the mother’s drinking.
Historically, miscarriage research has focused on factors related to a woman’s health, lifestyle, and behaviors. However, because a male’s sperm accounts for 50% of an embryo’s DNA, new data is looking at the male’s role in conception and fertility. In fact, 40% of infertility issues in couples are due to male factors. Ultimately more research is necessary to understand the male role in conception and embryo health and development.
Getting Help for Marijuana Use Disorder and Addiction
Whether or not you are trying to conceive, marijuana use can have negative effects on our lives and well-being. If you or a loved one are struggling with marijuana abuse, contact us today. We are here to help.