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The most common cause of infertility is infection, but a study from the University of Buffalo-SUNY shows that for marijuana smokers, infection may be the second most common cause. Several earlier studies showed that smoking marijuana lowers sperm counts. This more recent study shows that THC, the ingredient that affects your brain in marijuana, interferes with the way that a sperm is able to penetrate and fertilize an egg.

THC acts on the body is a way similar to the way that morphine and Valium do. Five billion years ago, the earth was formed; 3.5 billion years ago, the first one cell organism formed on earth. One-celled organisms gradually evolved to become bacteria, plants, and animals, including humans. Humans share cell structures and chemicals with every living being on earth, whether it's a plant, fish or cow.

For example, your body produces aldosterone to help you retain salt. The licorice plant also produces aldosterone and scientists call it glycyrrhizin. The surface protein on E. coli, a bacteria in everyone's intestines is the same as the surface protein on human cells. In a like manner, the reason that people respond specifically to morphine is that humans have morphine receptors in their brain cells and the human body produces its own morphine called endorphins that attach to and affect certain receptors on the brain to block pain that make you feel good. The poppy plant produces morphine that can go to the same receptors in your brain that allow endorphins to attach to your brain morphine receptors and blocks pain also. So the poppy's morphine causes the same effects on your brain as your own endorphins.

Dr. Sol Snyder of Johns Hopkins showed that the human brain has Valium receptors. So when you take Valium, it calms you down because Valium grabs the same Valium receptors in your brain that your own body respoinmds to its own Valium. And THC, produced from marijuana, grabs on marijuana receptors in your body to have many effects, not just on your brain, but on many parts of your body. Your body makes a chemical called anandamide that acts on your body to make you feel good. THC from marijuana acts on your body by using the same receptors as anandamide does, to make you feel good. The same THC from marijuana can bind to receptors on sperm to prevent conception.

There is no free lunch. Overdoses of Morphine from poppies, Valium from your pharmacist, glycyrrhizic acid from licorice and THC from marijuana all have side effects that can harm you. Don't ever believe that long-term use of any of the plant chemicals that affect your brain are harmless. Marijuana used daily can't possibly be safe.

Presented at the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, 12/13/00.

Reported 12/14/00; checked 8/9/05

May 16th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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