Marijuana-like Chemical Can Restore Sperm Function Lost to Tobacco Abuse
Oct 24, 2006 - 6:01:37 PM
A compound chemically similar to those found in marijuana can improve the ability of smokers sperm to bind to eggs.
Researchers in Buffalo and Boston have previously shown that two-thirds of tobacco smokers sperm showed a significant decline in the capacity to bind to an egg compared to that of non-smokers. They hypothesized that treating the smokers sperm with a cannabinoid compound would improve sperm binding. Human sperm have chemical receptors that respond to both nicotine and cannabinoids- compounds like those found in marijuana.
The eight test subjects, all chronic tobacco smokers, had previously been tested against normal controls in an assay involving incubating their sperm with sections of non-viable donated human eggs. Four of the eight had normal sperm function and four showed reduced function. This Hemizona Assay was repeated, testing a subjects sperm washed in regular medium against the same subjects sperm washed in cannabinoid-containg medium.
After being washed in a low-concentration cannabinoid solution, sperm from smokers with reduced sperm function showed marked improvement. Sperm from the smokers with normal sperm function did not improve after washing in the low-concentration solution. However, a second series of experiments using a higher concentration of cannabinoid, showed improved sperm function in the smokers who had normal sperm function to start.
Craig Niederberger, MD, President of SMRU commented, "Numerous studies have shown that tobacco smoking is harmful to parents, and to their unborn and living children. It is important to note that in this study, sperm were washed with the active chemical in marijuana, as it is also known that smoking or taking marijuana in other ways harms a man's fertility. But the best way to improve a smoker's overall health, his fertility, and the health of his family is to help him quit smoking."
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