Long term effects of smoking marijuana on sex and pregnancy (INFOGRAPHIC)

Can marijuana cause fertility problems? Find our how smoking weed is related to sexuality, conception, and pregnancy here. An INFOGRAPHIC to like, share, or use in your school or office.

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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.

Long term effects of smoking marijuana on sex and pregnancy (INFOGRAPHIC)

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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

We welcome your comments and questions in the section below. We appreciate your feedback and try to answer all legitimate inquiries with a  personal and prompt answer. Also, if you like our infographic, support the spread of good information and SHARE it.

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
Effect of Marijuana Use in Pregnancy on Fetal Growth

The Journal of Neurotoxology and Teratology: Effects of prenatal cigarette and marijuana exposure on drug use among offspring

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Hi Lydia,

    I enjoyed reviewing your Infographic which I found to be both informative and insightful. Since smoking marijuana during pregnancy is such a serious topic, below I have included links to recent relevant research studies. Two important caveats: first, studies show that the active ingredient in marijuana crosses the placenta engendering multiple neonatal effects; second, the studies also conclude that when a mother to be smokes marijuana while pregnant, the effects on the newborn can extend into childhood, the teen years and early adulthood.

    Additionally, it’s critical to grasp the fact that the marijuana being smoked today has THC levels of 12%. The marijuana smoked during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s for the most part, had THC levels of 4%. This means that the marijuana being smoked by mothers to be is 3 times more potent than versions smoked decades ago. Therefore, some early marijuana study results may no longer apply since potency levels of the active ingredient [THC] have tripled. Below are some research study links your readers can explore on their own to make up their own minds:

    Recent research studies demonstrating the effects on the fetus [and into childhood, the teen years and adulthood] of smoking marijuana during pregnancy

    January 10, 2017: The risks of marijuana use during pregnancy: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2594400
    December 8, 2016: Managing Maternal Substance Use in the Perinatal Period: Current Concerns and Treatment Approaches in the United States and Australia: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5147518/

    October 2016: Maternal Marijuana Use and Adverse Neonatal Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27607879

    April 2016: Prenatal exposure to cannabis and maternal and child health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4823436/

    January 2015: What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25287883

    June 2014: Cannabis, the pregnant woman and her child: weeding out the myths: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24457255

    December 2006: Exposure to marijuana during pregnancy alters neurobehavior in the early neonatal period: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17137892/

    February 2014: Family discord is associated with increased substance use for pregnant substance users: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4109678/

    With Gratitude,

    Dr. Bob, The Stress Relief Doctor


    1. Thanks for the thorough explanation and elaboration, Dr. Bob. Hope our readers will find these studies helpful!

  2. Can you offer even one credible scientific source for any of this? Addiction is a serious problem, but so is offering an unscientific opinion and holding it to be a scientific fact.

    1. Hi Vandura. Of course we can offer. I sent you a private email with all sources we used to create this infographic.

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