Could Smoking Weed Be Messing With Your Semen Color?
Sure, smoking Devil’s Lettuce might seem "cool" in the moment—until you ejaculate and realize your come isn't quite the same shade it used to be.
The idea of your semen shifting color probably sounds terrifying, but there are a number of reasons the hue might be something other than white, ranging in severity from “you just ate a few onions” beige to "you may be bleeding internally" black. When semen isn’t white, it’s most commonly a pale shade of yellow, as is reportedly the case for weed smokers.
Fortunately, yellow come is often pretty innocuous. "Lots of things can affect the color of bodily secretions, from your urine to your tears and semen," said Michael Ingber, M.D., a urologist and medical marijuana prescriber in New Jersey. "What you eat and ingest can get into these fluids. It's possible that not only cannabis itself can affect semen color, but also whatever it is being ingested with. For example, marijuana gummies may have certain additives that add color, such as food dyes." To be fair, this is probably true with non-THC foods, too.
More anecdotally, people on Reddit report yellow jizz following a period of abstinence or along with consuming diets high in sulfur (i.e., onions and garlic), plus there’s the possibility some urine is mixed in the batch. There’s a handful of scientific studies to support the idea that what you ingest might be linked to sperm color: Studies from 2012 and 2016 linked alcohol consumption and other dietary factors to sperm quality, while another 2016 study in the World Journal of Men's Health associated leukocytospermia, a condition in which semen contains a high number of white blood cells, with yellow-hued sperm.
If weed is leading to leukocytospermia, it may not inherently be dangerous. Though leukocytospermia can be associated with autoimmune disorders such as lupus or psoriasis and sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia, it can also occur as the result of infrequent ejaculation, according to The Cleveland Clinic.
"Yellowish semen can occasionally be due to excess white blood cells in the semen," Ingber continued. "When other components start entering the semen that the body isn't used to, it's not uncommon that an immunologic reaction takes place, where the body will send inflammatory cells to the area. When there are a lot of them, this may affect the color of the semen." In other words, your body could be having a mild allergic response to weed as a foreign substance in the body, with yellow sperm as a sign the body is attempting to get rid of it.
Vapes and other forms of marijuana could also be responsible. "Marijuana oils are often mixed with other ingredients to make it more functional in vaping devices," Ingber said. "These things can often break down in the body into other things which may affect semen quality and color. "For example, propylene glycol, formaldehyde, vegetable glycerin and polyethylene glycol (PEG) [substances sometimes found in vapes] can affect semen quality."
The idea of your semen shifting color probably sounds terrifying, but there are a number of reasons the hue might be something other than white, ranging in severity.
In addition to these additives, THC itself can have potentially negative impacts on sperm. "We do know that THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis, does affect sperm function," Ingber explained. "Some studies suggest cannabis use can affect everything from sperm motility to their form. However, a recent meta-analysis found no conclusive evidence one way or another."
This meta-analysis, published in March 2021 by urologists in the U.S., Italy and Denmark, evaluated nine studies of cannabis use and testicular function in more than 4,000 men. While 45 percent of cannabis users had impaired testicular function compared to 25 percent of non-cannabis users, the researchers ultimately stated that the current evidence "does not suggest clinically significant associations between cannabis use and testicular function."
So, the exact ways your daily joint habit might be changing your semen have yet to be discovered. Considering stoners have continued to father children for generations now, there’s probably not too much of an impact on fertility. That said, if you’re worried about it or your sperm color is freaking you out, see a doctor: Your come might be yellow just because you ate something with food dye in it, but on the other hand, it could be a sign of an infection.
In any case, paying attention to your semen color isn’t a bad idea. At least it’s another good excuse for jacking off—you’re just monitoring your health!