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Background: Decline in fertility seen in Cannabis sativa (CS) consumers has been related to its influence on reproductive hormones but the mechanism(s) involved is not fully understood. Moreover, the possible beneficial or detrimental effect of melatonin and vitamin C on cannabis-associated effects on reproductive hormones is yet to be investigated and necessitated this study.
Methods: Fifty-five (55) male albino rats (250-300g) were randomly divided in a blinded fashion into 5 oral treatment groups as follow: Group I (control, n=5) received 10% ethanol (1 ml/kg) for 30 days. Groups 2, 3, and 4 consisted of 15 rats each that were subdivided to receive CS (2 mg/kg) only, CS (2 mg/kg)+melatonin (4 mg/kg), and CS (2 mg/kg)+vitamin C (1.25 g/kg) respectively for 20-, 30-, or 40 days (n=5 rats each). Group V (n=5) received CS (2 mg/kg) + melatonin (4 mg/kg)+vitamin C (1.25 g/kg) for 30 days.
Results: The CS reduced gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and testosterone but increased estradiol and prolactin. In addition, co-administration of CS with melatonin and vitamin C abolished the effect of cannabis on these parameters when combined but not when administered separately (except for prolactin and GnRH).
Conclusion: Cannabis causes downregulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, endocrine disruption, and hyperprolactinemia. These effects (except hyperprolactinemia) could be reversed by melatonin and vitamin C only when combined but not when administered separately.
Keywords: Cannabis sativa; Endocrine disruption; Hyperprolactinemia; Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis; Melatonin; Vitamin C