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Cannabis exposure can alter sperm in men

A study found that Cannabis intake in men planning fatherhood could impact their sperm as well as the children they conceive. The effect is due to its active ingredient— tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is like tobacco smoke, pesticides, flame retardants, and even obesity can alter sperm. The findings, from Duke University researchers, showed that THC also affects epigenetics, triggering structural and regulatory changes in the DNA of users’ sperm.

THC appeared to impact hundreds of different genes in rats and humans, but many of the genes did have something in common—they were associated with two of the same major cellular pathways. One of the pathways is involved in helping bodily organs reach their full size; the other involves a large number of genes that regulate growth during development. Both pathways can become dysregulated in some cancers.

The findings defined regular users as those who smoked marijuana at least weekly for the previous six months. Their sperm was compared to those who had not used marijuana in the past six months and not more than 10 times in their lifetimes.


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