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Cannabis may slow down sperm

18 December 2000

By BioNews

Appeared in BioNews 088

A team of US researchers has found that naturally-occurring cannabis-like chemicals may control both sperm motility and their ability to fertilise an egg. The scientists, based at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, say their study raises the possibility that heavy use of marijuana could interfere with this signalling system.

Dr Herbert Schuel and his colleagues studied the effects on human sperm in a test-tube of THC (the chemical responsible for the 'high' produced by marijuana) and a synthetic 'cannaboid' called AM-356. They found that too much of either chemical prevented 'hyperactivated motility', the vigorous pattern of swimming exhibited by sperm once they become capable of fertilising an egg. The chemicals also prevented the necessary structural changes in the sperm required for fertilisation. 'It really stops them cold' Dr Schuel told New Scientist.

Dr Schuel said the findings suggest that defects in the cannaboid receptor signalling system could account for certain types of infertility. 'A better understanding of these mechanisms might lead to the development of novel drugs useful in reproductive medicine' he added. He also said that men and women who abuse marijuana could 'flood' the natural signalling system, which may cause fertility problems.

Science Daily | 12 December 2000
Cannabis can halt 'fertility signals'
The Daily Telegraph | 12 December 2000
BBC News Online | 12 December 2000
Go slow
New Scientist | 12 December 2000


24 September 2012 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
Scientists have carried out the first large scale, high-resolution recording of human sperm using a new 3D imaging technique...
31 March 2004 - by BioNews 
Men considering having a vasectomy, believing the procedure might later be reversible, may want to think even more carefully about their decision. Research presented today in Cheltenham, UK, at the annual meeting of the British Fertility Society, suggests that even if the surgical effect of a vasectomy can be undone...

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