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Marijuana Use In Men and Autism in Their Children

Marijuana Use In Men and Autism in Their Children

Given the increased prevalence of marijuana use in the United States and the growing number of states that have legalized its use, studies are being conducted addressing the implications of such use not only in those using marijuana but in their offspring as well. A recent study from Duke University has found an association between marijuana use in men and autism in their children.

How Does Marijuana Affect Fertility

Marijuana can adversely affect male and female fertility. Men who regularly use marijuana have lower sperm volume and less sperm than men who do not use it. Marijuana also makes sperm less fertile even if it is the woman who uses marijuana and not the man since THC appears in their reproductive organs and vaginal fluids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two natural compounds found in cannabis. THC can disrupt the menstrual cycle, suppress egg maturation and can adversely affect egg and embryo quality. Implantation is less likely to occur in women who use marijuana and should pregnancy occur the risk of miscarriage is also increased.

Marijuana Use In Men and Autism in Their Children

How is marijuana use in men associated to autism in their offspring? A specific gene associated with autism appears to undergo changes in the sperm of men who use marijuana. There is the unfounded perception that using marijuana is benign. This perception is not true. No matter the form of marijuana imbibed (inhalation or edible), marijuana and it’s metabolic products and derivatives adversely affect hormone levels and sperm production. In fact, many insurers that cover fertility do not cover fertility services if one of the partners uses marijuana and demand proof of cessation in the form of urine drug testing before they will approve coverage for infertility.

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