Stopping Pot May Reverse Some Loss of Male Fertility What are the main findings?

Response: Our study found that chronic THC use adversely impacts male reproductive health and the sperm epigenome. Specifically, it resulted in a significant decrease in testicular volume, testosterone, sperm DNA integrity, and altered genes that play a key role in male fertility (including ones important for sperm motility) and those related to nervous system development (including those linked to autism spectrum disorder). With discontinuation of THC for four months, we demonstrated that there is partial restoration of these adverse impacts to male reproductive health. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: There is still much we do not know about the impact of cannabis exposure especially on fertility and health. However, what we do know is that cannabis use may result in adverse outcomes that can potentially impact individuals and couples who are interested in trying to conceive. Also, we know that there may be a benefit to cessation from cannabis use for at least 4 months before conception. We did not observe a consistent or similar degree of benefit in all non-human primates with cessation for less than 4 months. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It would be important to have a larger and longer study to determine dose-dependent effects of cannabis use and to identify the optimal duration of cessation to maximize reversal benefits. Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response:  Given the limited safety information surrounding cannabis use, a lot of individuals are turning to the internet and dispensaries for information. As such, it is important to focus efforts on research that would provide evidence-based recommendations to better counsel individuals interested in or using cannabis.


  1. Jason C. Hedges, Carol B. Hanna, Lyndsey E. Shorey-Kendrick, Emily R. Boniface, Jasper C. Bash, Travis L. Rice-Stitt, Fernanda C. Burch, Rahul D’Mello, Terry K. Morgan, Ana Cristina Lima, Juanito Jose D. Terrobias, Jason A. Graham, Emily C. Mishler, Jared V. Jensen, Olivia L. Hagen, J. Wes Urian, Eliot R. Spindel, Charles A. Easley, Susan K. Murphy, Jamie O. Lo. Cessation of chronic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol use partially reverses impacts on male fertility and the sperm epigenome in rhesus macaques. Fertility and Sterility, 2023; DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2023.02.034
  2. Jason C. Hedges, Carol B. Hanna, Jasper C. Bash, Emily R. Boniface, Fernanda C. Burch, Shruthi Mahalingaiah, Victoria H.J. Roberts, Juanito Jose D. Terrobias, Emily C. Mishler, Jared V. Jensen, Charles A. Easley, Jamie O. Lo. Chronic exposure to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol impacts testicular volume and male reproductive health in rhesus macaques. Fertility and Sterility, 2022; 117 (4): 698 DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2021.12.028

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Last Updated on April 3, 2023 by