Source: London Metro /

Pub Date: Tuesday 14 October 2003

Subj:  Cannabis burns out sperm

Author: Stephen Hull, Metro





Men who regularly smoke cannabis may suffer from sperm 'burn-out' - preventing them fathering children, researchers claimed yesterday.


Scientists discovered drug-users' sperm moved too fast, too early and in smaller numbers. They also produced less seminal fluid.

The sperm counts of 22 cannabis smokers and 59 fertile men were compared by researchers.


Sperm numbers and ability to move were measured, together with a function called hyperactivity.


'The sperm from marijuana smokers were moving too fast, too early,' said Dr Lani Burkman, who led the study.


'The timing was all wrong. These sperm will experience burn-out before they reach the egg and would not be capable of fertilisation.'


The volunteers were all frequent users who had smoked an average of 14 times a week for five years.

Dr Burkman, from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine, New York, pointed out that many men who smoked cannabis had fathered children. But it was likely the drug could push a man with naturally low fertility 'over the edge into infertility'.

He warned: 'I definitely would advise anyone trying to conceive not to smoke marijuana and that would include women as well as men.'


But Alun Buffry, of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, said last night: 'If you look at the free love of the 1960s, when many people were smoking, there was a real baby boom.


'In countries where cannabis use is commonplace, they don't seem to have a population problem.'


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