Cannabis and Male Fertility

Cannabis And Male Fertility

We use Advanced AI to translate our blog content. If the translation isn’t perfect, or if you have any queries about the content, our medical team is readily available to answer. Simply email [email protected]

Can cannabis impact your sperm health? It’s a fair question. Other vices such as alcohol and smoking cigarettes have been shown to have varying effects on male fertility, so, understandably, you may be concerned about marijuana too. Here we’ll break down the ongoing research in this area and give some advice on how to cut down on cannabis if you’re trying to conceive. 

Cannabis and Male Fertility – The Science 

As with most things to do with fertility, there is still a lot of research needed in this area. However, several small studies have taken place investigating the impact of cannabis on sperm health – and they all seem to indicate the same thing. Getting stoned isn’t good for your swimmers. Here are just a few of the key findings from studies in recent years. 

Cannabis and sperm count 

Generally speaking, the research implies that regular cannabis use could decrease sperm count. A study of 1,215 young Danish guys, back in 2015, found that sperm count was around 29% lower for men who smoked weed more than once a week. If they were using cannabis alongside other recreational drugs, the situation was even worse – as many showed a decrease of 55%. 

However, in a more recent (albeit smaller) study in 2019, scientists found the opposite to be true. When looking at 662 men who attended fertility clinics, those that had smoked weed in the past had a higher sperm count.  Whilst this might be music to the ears of weed fans, it’s important to remember that the data is kind of unreliable – as it was solely based on self-reporting (aka some guys could have lied and said they never smoked weed even if they had!) 

Cannabis and sperm morphology & motility 

You’d like to think that all sperm have that classic tadpole shape, but the truth is that many sperm are abnormally shaped. It’s quite common to only have between 4% and 14% ‘normal formed’ sperm cells in a sample, but it’s when that number drops below 4% that it could impact your chances of conceiving.

A 2019 systematic review looked at 48 studies relating to cannabis and fertility and this gave some indication that weed could impact sperm morphology. Whilst the research is far from conclusive, it did note that in some studies – of both animals and men – abnormal morphology was found in higher prevalence in subjects that had been exposed to cannabis. 

Something that the review was a bit more emphatic about was the effect of cannabis on sperm motility. It found that there was an ‘extensive body of evidence’ to support suspicions that smoking weed could reduce sperm motility.

Sperm motility is probably a more important indicator of fertility compared to sperm morphology – so this is yet another reason why cutting back on cannabis is probably a good idea. 

Side effects of smoking weed

As with habits like binge drinking, it’s not just about the direct impact a bad habit like smoking weed can have on your fertility. When we are intoxicated, be that through alcohol or drugs, we tend to make poorer decisions for our health. If you are on a preconception health kick, getting stoned might make it harder to stick to your new regime. 

You might find that you eat more junk food (the munchies aren’t just a stoner stereotype!) and that you lose motivation to exercise or look after your mental wellbeing – which could all have a knock-on effect on your fertility. 

Another thing to consider is your sleep hygiene. Whilst many people claim that they need to smoke marijuana to get to sleep, research has actually also shown that regular smoking sessions could mess with your sleep pattern and cause insomnia. Sleep is important for healthy sperm production, so that’s another reason to consider quitting. 

Finally, let’s talk about erectile dysfunction. Whilst not technically to do with sperm health, it can be very difficult to conceive naturally if you’re struggling to stand to attention.  Some studies have shown that regular cannabis use can increase the chance of erectile dysfunction and even make it harder to reach orgasm! 

How to quit smoking cannabis 

So, there is still a lot of research to be done, but it seems like whilst the occasional smoke might not do too much damage to your swimmers, regular cannabis consumption could potentially harm your fertility. 

If you are a regular weed smoker, it might not be as simple as stopping overnight. As with any addiction, preparing to stop and getting yourself the right support, is key to quitting for good. Try to really focus on why you want to quit – for some men the desire to become a father is a really good driver for making this lifestyle overhaul! 

Another good way to get through the tough phase of quitting is to replace your weed habit with something else. Every time you get a craving why not replace smoking with something different (and healthier). A 5-minute meditation or walk around the block can help distract you from your craving and over time you’ll notice those cravings fade. 

Of course, never be afraid to seek medical advice if you’re struggling to quit. Even if weed is illegal in your country, your doctor will be able to help and advise you in confidence. 

Other things you can do to improve sperm health 

If you are leading a generally unhealthy lifestyle, quitting cannabis alone won’t necessarily turn your sperm health around. It’s important to take a holistic approach to your preconception plan and try to lead a healthier life day to day. Reducing stress, increasing exercise and eating sperm superfoods can all help you improve your fertility and health.  

If you need a bit more structure and guidance, why not sign up for our 90 Day Sperm Health Bootcamp, which is full of diet and lifestyle advice to help you on your journey. 

ExSeed home sperm test kit 2 test
ExSeed Home Sperm Test Kit (2 tests)


Refill Kit Monthly Subscription

£24.99 / month

ExSeed Combi


More to explore

Our products

ExSeed home sperm test kit 2 test
ExSeed Home Sperm Test Kit (2 tests)


ExSeed Refill Kit (5 tests)


ExSeed Combi


Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.