Avoiding Toxins Including Spermatotoxic Medications

Gillian Stearns, MD; Paul J. Turek, MD


Semin Reprod Med. 2013;31(4):286-292. 

In This Article

Recreational Drugs

Marijuana has been shown to decrease sperm density, motility, and normal morphology.[1,3,5,16,17] Seminal leukocyte levels may also be elevated with marijuana use.[3] It has been postulated that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, exerts luteinizing hormone (LH) antagonist-like activity and directly affects the HPG axis, although it has been difficult to reliably demonstrate changes in hormone levels in clinical studies.[18] Mandal and Das examined the effects of THC on mice treated with low and high doses of THC injected intraperitoneally.[19] Low doses were associated with significantly reduced testicular weights. This reduction was reversed with the withdrawal of THC. Decreased sperm concentration and testosterone were also noted. Paradoxically, this was observed only in mice treated with lower doses of THC. In a cohort exposed to high-dose THC, there was an associated increase in levels of testosterone, LH, and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).[19] Regarding other social drugs, cocaine taken in high doses may lead to priapism and erectile dysfunction and amphetamines have been linked to decreased libido.[1,3]