Researchers have made a profound discovery in the field of cannabis science: even sperm can get high. A new study from Duke University indicates that heavy marijuana use in men can change the genetic makeup of their sperm, and might even alter genes which are passed on to their children.
The study, published in journal Epigenetics and reported in Sky News, required researchers to get 24 human men and a bunch of rats high on THC. Researchers then studied the subject’s sperm.
That means that these researchers spent their days getting rodents high and then studying their sperm, which is among the more interesting jobs I’ve heard of lately. (The Sky News article does not detail exactly how researchers went about extracting the sperm from rats.)
What they found was that “THC targets genes in two major cellular pathways.” It’s still unclear how, if at all, alterations to sperm genes from THC could affect the offspring of these stoner mice and men.
“We don’t yet know what that means, but the fact that more and more young males of child-bearing age have legal access to cannabis is something we should be thinking about,” said Professor Scott Kollins.
Dr. Susan Murphy, another researcher on the study, added that in her opinion, “In the absence of a larger, definitive study, the best advice would be to assume these changes are going to be there… We don’t know whether they are going to be permanent.”
“I would say, as a precaution, stop using cannabis for at least six months before trying to conceive.”
As these researchers, we still don’t know what all this pot use could do to the next generation. Maybe it could make them dumb as rocks. Maybe it could make them superpowered Incredible Hulks. Probably neither of those, but we’re just spitballing.
Previous studies have shown that many other factors can alter sperm including exposure to tobacco smoke, flame retardants, pesticides, and obesity.