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General overview of marijuana

Marijuana is used as a recreational drug and it causes psychoactive effects in humans. The reason for this is due to the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This compound is readily absorbed by the body within seconds of inhalation of marijuana smoke and within minutes after oral ingestion. The reason for its use is due to the euphoria it induces as well as putting the user in a relaxed mood and elevating their mood.

There are many negative effects associated with marijuana use such as psychological complications which can include anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. These issues can make one become a danger to themselves and/or others. Other side effects of using this drug can include diminished motor skills and decreased reaction time, increased appetite for high calorie foods, red eyes and decreased short-term memory.

Furthermore, complications such as cardiovascular pathologies such as heart attacks and strokes, respiratory infections and tolerance and dependence of the drug in long-term users are serious issues.

Effect of marijuana on fertility

In men, marijuana can decrease testosterone levels which can lead to testicular atrophy. This then results in decreased sperm production which can leave the person infertile.

In women, marijuana affects the production of the reproductive hormones. THC inhibits secretion of the hormone LH (luteinizing hormone) which is supposed to stimulate ovulation. By blocking LH, marijuana then directly causes ovulation to reduce and/or stop completely and this can then cause the user to struggle to conceive.

Marijuana use could also indirectly cause ovarian related issues due to the fact that, as mentioned above, it can cause one’s appetite for high calorie foods to increase. This then results in weight gain and possibly even obesity which has been linked to the condition polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is as a result of obesity leading to glucose intolerance or diabetes and this condition then affects ovulation negatively.

The fact that marijuana can affect ovulation in a woman then means that menstruation is also affected. The result here is that one's menstruation can end up becoming irregular. Menstruation may even stop and it would be advisable to make sure that one consults with their primary care physician to rule out any other issues, as well as excluding a pregnancy, to be sure that the reason behind the altered menstrual cycle is due to the use of marijuana.

In the same study that found that marijuana can affect ovulation and menstruation, it was noted that chronic use of this drug didn't have the same effect on the menstrual cycle as did casual use of marijuana. The reason behind this may be that the bodies of chronic users of marijuana have built up a tolerance to the drug, and it therefore doesn't affect the reproductive hormones in the same way as it did initially. 

The process doesn't seem to be a permanent problem and it can be reversed. It would therefore be highly advisable to stop using marijuana if there are any irregularities with your menstruation or you are struggling to become pregnant.  

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