Cannabis: Fertility Friend or Foe?
The use of medicinal cannabis continues to become more widespread. Novel research continues to examine the impact of medicinal cannabis for the treatment of various conditions. Common conditions that patients may seek out the use of medicinal cannabis include, but are not limited to, anxiety, insomnia, and elevated stress.
With continued interest in the use of cannabis for various conditions, many patients seeking fertility treatments also consume cannabis or a varying potencies of CBD oil. Therefore many patients are curious to learn if they can continue to consume CBD oil or use cannabis while trying to conceive.
It is important to mention that cannabis use, although it may not necessarily CAUSE infertility, can significantly reduce the likelihood of conception, and for patients that are already dealing with another condition that can cause infertility (i.e. PCOS, endometriosis, low ovarian reserve, poor sperm health) the use of cannabis can present additional complications.
While studies examining this topic are limited and small in sample size, there appears to be a consistent trend where there is a significant decrease in the ability for an embryo to implant on the endometrial lining. Use of cannabis during pregnancy also appears to increase the likelihood of preterm labour and other negative pregnancy outcomes.
The hypothesized reason for the decrease in fertility rates appears to be related to a disruption in the endocannabinoid system. Receptors for endogenous endocannabinoid receptors can be found in various tissue, including the reproductive system. Endocannabinoid receptors have been found on the endometrium, sperm cells, and ovaries.
2 endocannabinoid ligands that bind to the above mentioned receptors include Anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol. Their binding to these receptors appears to have a crucial role to support embryo implantation in the endometrial lining.
Use of cannabis can flood these receptors in the reproductive organs and prevent the binding of anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol, therefore preventing their impact on the reproductive organs. Therefore, if you are currently trying to conceive, it is vital to speak to your healthcare provider to select a safer treatment option for the condition that medicinal cannabis was intended to treat.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.
Ezechukwu, H. C., Diya, C. A., Shrestha, N., & Hryciw, D. H. (2020). Role for endocannabinoids in early pregnancy: Recent advances and the effects of cannabis use. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.