Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience College of Veterinary Medicine Washington State University, Pullman, WA 

Animal Study Finds Inhaled Cannabis Impairs Sperm Across Generations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kanako Hayashi PhD
Associate Professor
Associate Director, Center for Reproductive Biology
Washington State University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There have been several correlative reports showing statistical associations between cannabis use and low sperm counts, dysregulated menstruation, abnormal placentation, preterm birth, stillbirth and offspring psychosis etc. However, the long-term consequences of cannabis use on reproductive functions and how it might impact the next generation have not been examined.

In the present study, we examined the generational effects of cannabis vapor exposure on male reproductive function. Vaporization is the most common route of cannabis administration in humans. Therefore, in order to understand the generational effects of cannabis exposure on male reproductive functions, the present study was performed using an inhalation method as an administration route, by which adult male mice were exposed to dry cannabis plants to assess the toxicological effects of cannabis on F0, F1 and F2 male reproductive functions.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience College of Veterinary Medicine Washington State University, Pullman, WA Response: We report that cannabis vapor exposure to adult males impairs sperm counts and/or motility and disrupts spermatogenesis in F0 and F1 males. Furthermore, cannabis increases DNA damage and the expression of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) 1 in the F1 neonatal testis. Our results suggest that vapor exposure to cannabis generationally affects male reproductive functions, probably due to spermatogenic defects in the developing testis.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The United States has been moving toward increased legalization of medical and recreational use of cannabis. Because Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) induces psychoactive effects, many studies have focused on the cannabis-induced alterations in the central nervous system. However, cannabis also negatively impacts reproductive functions. The adverse effects of cannabis on reproduction can be sustained to subsequent generations. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: To understand the further toxic impact of cannabis on reproductive functions, studies of generational and transgenerational effects of prenatal and/or adolescent cannabis vapor exposure on epigenetic modifications are required and are currently underway.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Citations:

Shi M, Langholt EM, Butler LC, et al. Vapor cannabis exposure generationally affects male reproductive functions in mice. bioRxiv; 2021. DOI: 10.1101/2021.08.22.457271.

Journal: Toxicological Sciences
DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfab137
Vapor cannabis exposure generationally affects male reproductive functions in mice
Acceptance date: 2021-11-15

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Dec 1, 2021 @ 6:41 pm

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