Smoking cannabis can harm your fertility – everything you need to know

There is nothing new in the phenomenon of women using cannabis to treat various health problems, claims historical evidence from the fourth century BC in Israel. Ancient texts in China, Egypt, Persia and Syria also recommend the use of cannabis to treat a variety of different problems in the field of women’s health, such as menstrual pain, swelling, heavy bleeding and even menopause symptoms, urinary tract infections, and postpartum hemorrhages.

A systematic scientific review found that between 13% and 27% of women in the world use cannabis to treat various gynecological problems, primarily pain-based symptoms. Studies show that most cannabis users do get pain relief from the use of cannabis, especially when they use products that contain a combination of a variety of active substances from the cannabis plant – CBD, THC and other active substances, more than just one active substance. The main side effect refers to dry mouth and sleepiness, not to mention of course the familiar “high” feeling from using THC. Most women inhale or ingest cannabis, several times a week, in different doses of THC and CBD, which in exceptional cases even reach 70 mg and 2000 mg respectively.

Without pain and feeling “hey” sounds great, doesn’t it? Especially nowadays, when access to cannabis and its active substances is increasing worldwide. So that’s it, I’m here to crash the party with words of warning: it’s important for women to know about the potential dangers and long-term side effects that cannabis can bring to a woman’s body, specifically when it comes to fertility.

The two known active substances from the cannabis plant, THC and CBD, work in the human body through a network of receptors called the endocannabinoid system, which was discovered in 1992 by Prof. Lomir Hanoush, Prof. Bill Debine and Prof. Raphael Meshulam from the Hebrew University. This network is known to regulate pain levels, to influence the immune system and nerve function.

Also, this receptor network is also known to have a critical effect on the female reproductive system, with an emphasis on fertility, reproduction and hormonal function in women and men, and is found in every organ of the reproductive system. In women, high levels of these receptors have been shown to suppress hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and GnRH. Simply put, a change in the functioning of the endocannabinoid system has been found to be associated with decreased fertility, ectopic pregnancy, and spontaneous abortion. Depending on the dose, frequency and form of use, certain cannabinoids – the active substances in the cannabis plant – can damage hormone levels. Using them can lead to long-term consequences, such as a monthly cycle without ovulation, and in severe cases also lead to abortions and even impair the ability to produce milk for lactating women.

Even low levels of THC can lead to a decrease in hormone levels, within 60 minutes and up to 24 hours after use, impairing the ability to ovulate, which can sometimes return to full function only after six months of using these substances.

Women, especially of childbearing age, should be aware of and take into account these potential side effects, whether they use cannabis for medical purposes or for pleasure, and it should be remembered that cannabis is not a magic drug that provides a balm for all the world’s ills. Also, it should be taken into account that the products sold in the market today are not supervised, and have not undergone research and development processes that examine their safety, toxicity and effectiveness – as is expected of preparations and other drugs sold in the market, so be on the lookout.

‏‏The author is the director of research and development at Gynica, which deals with cannabinoid-based developments in the field of women’s health

By Editor

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