GUELPH, Ontario — A new study has revealed a concerning link between using marijuana and pregnancy. Scientists say tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient that triggers marijuana’s psychological effects, may also lead to infertility in women.
According to a study on embryos at the University of Guelph in Canada, exposure to THC leads to a drastic drop in the chances of a successful pregnancy. Testing the eggs of cows, researchers found that higher levels of the marijuana ingredient delayed the eggs from reaching important milestones in their development.
Megan Misner, one of the study’s authors, says doctors regularly warn women to avoid marijuana while getting fertility treatments. Until now however, Misner says the evidence to support that advise hasn’t been strong.
“The scientific evidence backing this statement is weak,” Misner said in a press release. “This makes it difficult for physicians to properly advise patients undergoing in vitro fertilization.”
Dozens Of Genes Affected By THC
Researchers separated the female cow eggs into five groups: untreated, control, low THC, mid THC, and high THC. The eggs exposed to THC were given doses that were the same as a person using medical or recreational marijuana.
The results show eggs affected by THC had far fewer connexins, genes that are found in good quality embryos. Misner says fewer connexins means an egg will likely fail to develop into a baby.
“This is a key indicator in determining the quality and developmental potential of the egg,” the master student at Guelph explained. “This embryo would be less likely to proceed past the first week of development, and thus lead to infertility.”
In total, the study says 62 genes were affected by THC exposure compared to the untreated group.
The study was published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.
Previous studies have shown THC has several side-effects which include reducing stress however, too much of the chemical can actually cause the exact opposite to happen.