Couples who smoke marijuana together have fewer incidences of domestic violence, a new study by University at Buffalo researchers found.
The study of 634 couples over their first nine years of marriage found that the more often husbands and wives smoked pot, the less likely they were to engage in spousal abuse.
“As in other survey studies of marijuana and partner violence, our study examines patterns of marijuana use and the occurrence of violence within a year period. It does not examine whether using marijuana on a given day reduces the likelihood of violence at that time,” said Kenneth Leonard, director of the UB Research Institute on Addictions and lead investigator of the study which appeared in the August online edition of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
Looking at couples over the first nine years of marriage, the study also found:
• Husbands’ marijuana use predicted less frequent intimate partner violence perpetration by wives;
• Couples in which both spouses used marijuana frequently reported the least frequent intimate partner violence perpetration; and.
• The relationship between marijuana use and reduced partner violence was most evident among women who did not have histories of prior antisocial behavior.
The study’s lead author is Philip H. Smith, a recent doctoral graduate of the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions and now associate research scientist in the department of psychiatry at Yale University.
It is based in data collected by Leonard, who said more research needs to be done before stronger conclusions can be drawn about whether marijuana use decreases aggressive conflict in marriages.
“It is possible, for example, that — similar to a drinking partnership — couples who use marijuana together may share similar values and social circles, and it is this similarity that is responsible for reducing the likelihood of conflict,” said Leonard.