Ask a Stoner

Ask a Stoner: Will smoking pot kill my sperm?

Dear Stoner: I recently started using medical marijuana to control the nausea that comes with Crohn's disease. It works better than any of the old drugs I used to use; is it doing something different?


Dear JH: Not different, just better. According to researchers, high amounts of THC in your system help block the release of serotonin into the postsynaptic neuron by binding to your body's natural cannabinoid receptors. In English: THC stops the natural chemical reaction in your body that tells your brain you're feeling queasy. That's the same thing most pharmaceutical anti-nausea drugs do, but cannabis does it more effectively.

For many people — including yours truly — marijuana is one of the only anti-nausea drugs that doesn't come with pretty major side effects. Drugs like Ativan, Halcion and Ondansetron can cause reactions such as severe itching and hives, swelling of the hands, shortness of breath, headaches and constipation (something you definitely want to avoid when your belly isn't doing well).

For others, those drugs simply don't work. A 2001 study comparing Ondansetron to cannabis found that only 64 percent using Ondansetron reported the easing of their nausea, while 71 percent of cannabis users reported no nausea whatsoever. The severity of nausea was much lower with cannabis users as well.

Dear Stoner: The wife and I are trying to get pregnant, and she's insisting that pot is killing my little swimmers. It sounds like pot paranoia to me. But is she right? Should I stop smoking for a while?

C. Mann

Dear C: While there are a few studies to the contrary, most physicians and research shows that marijuana use does have some effect on your tadpoles — particularly in their shape, how straight they swim and how well they release hormones that allow them to break into an egg. So, yes: Laying off the herb isn't a bad idea if you're trying to increase your odds of having a kid.

The good news is that any damage you may have done up to this point is probably reversible within sixty to ninety days. And let's face it: Those stats haven't stopped stoners throughout history from having plenty of kids. If Willie Nelson can father seven children, you've got good odds.

That said, my advice is to do what your wife wants. If you haven't figured out by now that you aren't happy unless your wife is happy, this may be a good learning opportunity.