Cannabis, as a recreational form of drugs, is used by more than 180 million people globally. A lot of controversies and discussions have been going on about legalizing the use of marijuana, of late, however, things have taken a turn as a recent study has revealed that male sperms may get altered in men smoking cannabis, which could directly affect the genetic makeup of the future child.
Lab rats and humans were used for two studies conducted by a group of researchers. A set of rats were given tetrahydrocannabinol which is considered the main component responsible for the psychological effects of cannabis while another set of rats was not. Similarly, urine samples were collected from males who smoked pot weekly while creating a control group of men who did not smoke pot for more than 10 times in their entire life and had refrained from it for at least 6 months before the study was conducted. On studying the DNA samples, the lab rats and males who were dependent on cannabis showed a different DNA setup than the control groups.
This study confirms that some changes do happen in the DNA of the sperm which is responsible for forming one half of the embryo that develops into a human child. Professor Susan Kay from Duke University explains that a DNA comes with a specific set of instructions that is encoded into it and which directs the line of cells it was responsible for. THC can affect the DNA in two ways. Either they can cause methylation of the DNA or they may alter a segmental structure of the DNA without changing the overall form. This changed DNA is not going to pertain to the instructions and may act differently, especially while giving commands of organ development, resulting in some unforeseen deformity. The chances of developing cancer also increase in the child.
As clearly stated, the purpose of the study is not to scare anyone. Since THC has found its way to be accessible to so many people who belong to the average childbearing age for a male of 27.6 years, it is better to know the implications of using it. Men who are trying to conceive have been advised to stay out of it for at least 6 months. There are no studies of the effects yet but it is better to not risk it, especially when the changes in the sperm DNA are confirmed.