Study finds less domestic violence among married couples who smoke pot

August 26, 2014 by Cathy Wilde, University at Buffalo
Study finds less domestic violence among married couples who smoke pot

New research findings from a study of 634 couples found that the more often they smoked marijuana, the less likely they were to engage in domestic violence.

The study, conducted by researchers in the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions and Research Institute on Addictions (RIA), appeared in the online edition of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors in August.

The study attempted to clarify inconsistent findings about among pot-smoking couples that primarily has been based on cross-sectional data (i.e., data from one point in time). Looking at couples over the first nine years of marriage, the study found:

  • More frequent use by husbands and wives (two-to-three times per month or more often) predicted less frequent intimate (IPV) perpetration by husbands.
  • Husbands' marijuana use also predicted less frequent IPV perpetration by wives.
  • Couples in which both spouses used marijuana frequently reported the least frequent IPV perpetration.
  • 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, PhD, 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 on research data collected by lead investigator Kenneth Leonard, PhD, director of the UB Research Institute on Addictions. The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to Leonard and a grant to Smith from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"These findings suggest that marijuana use is predictive of lower levels of aggression towards one's partner in the following year." Leonard says. "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.

"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.

"Although this study supports the perspective that marijuana does not increase, and may decrease, aggressive conflict," he says, "we would like to see research replicating these findings, and research examining day-to-day marijuana and alcohol use and the likelihood to IPV on the same day before drawing stronger conclusions."

Explore further: Study finds link between alcohol use and domestic violence

Related Stories

Study finds link between alcohol use and domestic violence

January 27, 2014
Alcohol use is more likely than marijuana use to lead to violence between partners, according to studies done at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Heavy drinking is bad for marriage if one spouse drinks, but not both

November 21, 2013
Do drinking and marriage mix? That depends on who's doing the drinking—and how much—according to a recent study by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions (RIA).

House supports easier marijuana-related banking

July 16, 2014
(AP)—The House has voted in support of making it easier for banks to do business with legal pot shops and providers of medical marijuana.

Study finds link between marijuana abuse and blunted dopamine response

July 15, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—People who use marijuana heavily experience a blunted response to dopamine, according to researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York University Langone Medical Center and the National Institute ...

NIDA offers tools for talking to teens about marijuana

May 20, 2014
Two updated booklets about marijuana for teens and their parents will help families sort out marijuana myths from science-based facts. The revamped tools come from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the ...

New York is 23rd US state to allow medical marijuana

July 8, 2014
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a bill making New York the 23rd US state to legalize marijuana for medical use, in a growing momentum.

Recommended for you

Marijuana use may not aid patients in opioid addiction treatment

December 4, 2017
Many patients who are being treated for opioid addiction in a medication-assisted treatment clinic use marijuana to help manage their pain and mood symptoms.

For opiate addiction, study finds drug-assisted treatment is more effective than detox

November 23, 2017
Say you're a publicly insured Californian with an addiction to heroin, fentanyl or prescription narcotics, and you want to quit.

Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction

November 17, 2017
A new study conducted by researchers at The University of New Mexico, involving medical cannabis and prescription opioid use among chronic pain patients, found a distinct connection between having the legal ability to use ...

Insomnia linked to alcohol-use frequency among early adolescents, says new psychology study

November 8, 2017
Insomnia is linked to frequency of alcohol use among early adolescents, according to new Rutgers University–Camden research.

Large declines seen in teen substance abuse, delinquency

October 25, 2017
More than a decade of data indicates teens have become far less likely to abuse alcohol, nicotine and illicit drugs, and they also are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, such as fighting and stealing, according ...

Trying to get sober? NIH offers tool to help find good care

October 3, 2017
The phone calls come—from fellow scientists and desperate strangers—with a single question for the alcohol chief at the National Institutes of Health: Where can my loved one find good care to get sober?

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PsycheOne
not rated yet Aug 26, 2014
Looks like medical marijuana just earned a new prescription reason.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.