Long term effects of smoking marijuana on sex and pregnancy (INFOGRAPHIC)
Sex and marijuana myths
Marijuana contains several hundred active chemicals, but tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the best-known and credited for having the greatest affect on users. THC produces a variety of hallucinogenic, depressant, and stimulant effects, which are also said to be great effects that elevate arousal – it just may not be true.
The THC from marijuana has mood enhancing and disinhibitory effects, and some users praise it for improving their sexual desire, others report quite the contrary. Stoned people have a substantially decreased sexual drive and difficulties with arousal.
Marijuana and fertility implications
Prolonged and frequent marijuana use changes people’s hormone levels, and can influence the ability to conceive.
In men it can cause feminization by stimulating the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, while in male adolescents it can delay puberty and maturation. Moreover, it has significant effect on sperm, bringing serious risks of decreased fertility in men.
In women, on the other hand, long-term and repetitive use of marijuana has been linked to disruption in ovulation and irregular menstrual cycles, as well as egg cell damage. These changes can seriously influence women’s conception ability. If a woman gets pregnant and continues to use marijuana, she risks causing birth defects, pregnancy loss, slower growth and brain defects by exposing the fetus to THC.
Effects of marijuana use during pregnancy
If women use marijuana while being pregnant with their child, it can affect certain parts of the baby’s developing brain and result in brain and behavioral problems in the child’s life in the future. Children whose mothers smoked weed frequently during pregnancy or during breastfeeding (a portion is excreted through breast milk), may have an increased risk of:
- attention difficulties
- growth restriction
- increased aggression or depression symptoms
- lower birth weight
- memory problems
- problem-solving issues
- retardation of fetal development
Questions about marijuana’s effects on sexuality and fertility
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Reference Sources: The Journal of Pediatrics: Exposure to marijuana during pregnancy alters neurobehavior in the early neonatal period
Neurotoxicology and Teratology: Effects of prenatal marijuana exposure on child behavior problems at age 10
Neurotoxicology and Teratology: A follow-up study of attentional behavior in 6-year-old children exposed prenatally to marihuana, cigarettes, and alcohol
Canadian Family Physician: Effects of prenatal exposure to marijuana
The Journal of Neurotoxology and Teratology: Effects of prenatal cigarette and marijuana exposure on drug use among offspring