Last updated on: 5/30/2008 | Author:

Can Marijuana Use Harm Female Fertility?

PRO (yes)


Haibin Wang, PhD, Research Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Huirong Xie, PhD, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department Of Cell And Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, et al., wrote in their 2006 study of mice, “Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase Deficiency Limits Early Pregnancy Events,” published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation:

Exposure to Delta-9-THC [one of the active ingredients in marijuana] causes retarded development and oviductal retention of embryos…

We speculated that these developmentally retarded embryos eventually fail to implant in the uterus… When examined on day 5, most of the mice (7 or 8) exposed to THC failed to show any sign of implantation…

These findings reinforce the idea that during normal pregnancy, locally produced endocannabinoids elicit an ‘endocannabinoid tone’ conductive to synchronous development and timely journey of embryos through the oviduct for on-time implantation, whereas an exposure to exogenous cannabinoid [that which enters from outside the body] ligands such as THC swamps this endocannabinoid tone, leading to early pregnancy failure.

2006 - Huirong Xie, PhD Haibin Wang, PhD


Lani J. Burkman, PhD, Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Buffalo, et al., presented a study at the annual meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine in San Antonio on Oct. 13, 2003, which found, as reported by WebMD:

When women smoke marijuana, the active ingredient — THC — appears in their reproductive organs and vaginal fluids. Sperm exposed to this THC are likely to act just as sperm exposed to THC in the testes.

When women smoke marijuana, nicotine, or other drugs, their reproductive fluids contain these drugs.

The woman smoking marijuana is putting THC into her oviduct, into her cervix. If the man is not smoking but the woman is, his sperm go into her body and hit THC in the vagina, oviduct, and uterus. Her THC is changing his sperm.

Oct. 13, 2003 - Lani Burkman, PhD


Herbert Schuel, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology, who presented his research into marijuana’s effect on reproduction at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, stated in a Dec. 12, 2000 BBC News article:

“We know that sperm capacitation and fertilising potential are tightly regulated within the female reproductive tract.

Within the uterus, anandamide [a naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter found in the brain, which is sensitive to the cannabinoids in marijuana] regulates early development of the fertilised egg, and determines where the embryo will implant to initiate pregnancy. Cannabinoids also affect this process…

The increased load of cannabinoids in people who abuse marijuana could flood natural endocannabinoid-signal systems in reproductive organs and adversely impact fertility.”

Dec. 12, 2000 - Herbert Schuel, PhD

CON (no)


John Oxford, MD, Professor of Virology at the Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of London, stated in a Nov. 25, 2003 BBC News article:

“We know that cannabinoids affect sperm – although there’s not much objective evidence that it has an effect on female fertility.

It’s difficult to carry out a proper controlled trial to find out what is happening.”

Nov. 25, 2003 - John S. Oxford