Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple’s chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by School of Public Health researchers.
The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH), was the first to evaluate the link between fecundability—the average per-cycle probability of conception—and marijuana use.
About 15 percent of couples experience infertility. Infertility costs the U.S. healthcare system more than $5 billion per year, and thus identifying modifiable risk factors for infertility, including recreational drug use, is of public health importance. Marijuana is one of the most widely used recreational drugs among individuals of reproductive age. Previous studies have examined the effects of marijuana use on reproductive hormones and semen quality, with conflicting results.
“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.
In Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), a web-based prospective cohort study of North American couples, the researchers surveyed 4,194 women aged 21 to 45 living in the United States or Canada. The study specifically targeted women in stable relationships who were not using contraception or fertility treatment. Female participants were given the option to invite their male partners to participate; 1,125 of their male partners enrolled.