Cannabis use, by men or women, does not appear to decrease a couple’s chances of getting pregnant.

About 15 % of couples experience infertility. Infertility costs the US healthcare system more than $5 billion per year, and thus identifying modifiable risk factors for infertility, including recreational drug use, is of public health importance. Cannabis is one of the most extensively used recreational drugs among individuals of reproductive age. Previous studies have examined the effects of cannabis use on reproductive hormones and semen quality, with conflicting results.

The scientists surveyed 4,194 women aged 21 to 45 living in the United States or Canada. The study specifically targeted women in stable relationships who were not using contraception or fertility treatment. Female participants were given the option to invite their male partners to participate; 1,125 of their male buddies enrolled.

The scientists found that during the period from 2013 through 2017, approximately 12 percent of female participants and 14 percent of male participants reported cannabis use in the two months before completing the baseline survey. After 12 cycles of follow-up, conception chances were similar among couples that used cannabis and those that did not.

The scientists stressed that questions about the effects of cannabis use remain. As one example, they said, classifying people correctly according to the amount of cannabis used, especially when relying on self-reported data, is challenging. Future studies with day-specific data on cannabis use might better be able to distinguish acute from chronic effects of cannabis use, and evaluate whether effects depend on other factors.