This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Sperm news now, and in a surprising development it turns out a history of smoking weed – "The Sperm Herb", as we will now be calling it – seems like it actually could be good for your sperm count. I know. I am surprised as you. And believe me: I read an inordinate amount of news about sperm.
Here's LiveScience with the bit you care about:
Men who smoke marijuana may have higher sperm counts than those who have never used the drug, a surprising new study finds.
The findings are "not consistent" with previous research, which has suggested that marijuana has a harmful effect on men's testicular function, the researchers said.
In the new study, the researchers analysed information from 662 men who, along with their partners, were evaluated for infertility from 2000 to 2017 at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. The men answered survey questions about how often they smoked marijuana or used other drugs, and they also provided sperm and blood samples.
Overall, a little over half of the men (55 percent) reported ever smoking marijuana in their lifetimes, and 11 percent said that they currently smoked marijuana.
Should mention at this point that the men in the study averaged out to the age of 36, were mostly white and mostly college-educated, i.e. exactly the kind of lads you would imagine would be very quietly sweating in an American sperm centre because they were actively trying to have a baby with their wife of two years, and not because they'd accidentally slipped one past the keeper during a 6AM sun's-coming-up-but-we're-still-awake ecstasy-fuelled shag-with-someone-whose-surname-you-don’t-know, so it’s not exactly a broad cross-section of either the shagging- or the weed-smoking population, just lots of boys in Oxford collars called Todd who still fondly remember having to drink pee at their fraternity hazing—
The researchers found that men who reported ever having smoked marijuana had an average sperm concentration of 63 million sperm per milliliter of semen, compared with 45 million sperm per milliliter of semen among those who had never used marijuana. The findings held even after the researchers took into account some factors that could have affected sperm concentration, such as age, cigarette smoking and alcohol use.
What's more, only 5 percent of the marijuana smokers had lower-than-normal sperm concentrations — that is, lower than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Among men who never smoked marijuana, 12 percent had lower-than-normal sperm concentrations.
Final surprising finding from the study: the more years since you last "tokethed upon the loud", the higher your sperm count (one indicator of fertility) might be. This goes against previous findings from previous studies on stoned sperms; a similar 2015 study in Denmark found men who smoke once a week had roughly 30 percent lower sperm counts. Main takeaway? As per Dr. Jorge Chavarro, associated professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston: "We know a lot less than we think we know."
Does this mean you should immediately fire up a bong if, for whatever reason, you want to accelerate your sperm production into overdrive? The short answer to this is: "No, mate. Please don’t smoke weed for sperm health." The study’s authors were keen to stress this study was to find associations, rather than causation. One suggested theory is that the same primal urge to smoke weed (which is technically "risky behaviour") might be the same testosterone peak that leads to higher sperm counts anyway. The question isn’t, "Did all that weed make my sperm abundant?" It's more, "Which came first: all this sperm, or a longing to get stoned and watch Adventure Time with a share-bag of Wotsits?"
Anyway: imagine a sperm, but stoned! Big hoodie with crumbs all down it. Curtains closed against the daylight. Big wad of sperm telling you about the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Sperm going on Reddit until its eyes go red. Sperm that smells faintly like a branch of CEX. You’re trying to live your life but a sperm keeps texting you about The Mars Volta. You come home and a stoned sperm has somehow used every single one of your plates and pans to make a single serving of packet ramen. A sperm that keeps calling you "la chica bro-nita". A sperm with a wallet chain. A sperm that keeps talking about the dark web, even though it doesn’t really know what the dark web is. A sperm that has hollowed out an apple then got bored halfway through. A sperm that has dismantled your vape with a screwdriver and is asking you to borrow money. A sperm that has got ash on your laptop trying to look-up the secret menu at McDonald’s. Sperm that is trying to play you Thomas the Tank Engine remixes off its iPhone but the 3G connection isn’t solid enough so it keeps interrupting.