Marijuana has continued to be legalized in more states and its consumption has consistently increased over the past decade. Young males, in particular, comprise the demographic group with highest likelihood of marijuana consumption, and therefore are most vulnerable to its short- and long-term consequences. Although the pace of medical research still lags behind marijuana’s popularity explosion, valuable insights on its impacts on male infertility, sexual health, and urologic neoplasms have recently emerged.
Cannabinoids, which include THC and CBD, represent the main components of marijuana. With respect to male fertility as measured through semen (such as sperm concentration, total counts, etc.) and reproductive hormone (such as testosterone level) parameters, cannabinoids likely induce detrimental effects. Data on marijuana and male sexual function are mixed, suggesting that it may enhance the subjective experience of sexual intercourse but potentially contributes to erectile dysfunction in a dose-dependent manner. Finally, marijuana has been associated with an increased risk of malignancies in some male reproductive organs but decreased risk in others. More specifically, while marijuana exposure appears to be a risk factor for testis cancer, cannabinoids seem to possess anti-tumor action against prostate cancer.
The current body of research studies demonstrates the diverse and complex influences that marijuana has on urologic health and disease. However, data are still relatively limited, facilitating the need for more studies to further elucidate these effects.