Weed Can Reduce Domestic Violence in Married Couples

By Paul Gaita 08/28/14

It should come as no surprise that there are significantly fewer incidents of domestic violence among weed-smoking couples.

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A recent study has determined that married couples that use marijuana on a frequent basis appear to have a lower risk of domestic violence.

Researchers from Yale University, the University of Buffalo, and Rutgers University recruited 634 couples that had applied for marriage licenses in New York State between 1996 and 1999. The couples were then surveyed for the next nine years about their marijuana use over the course of a single year, as well as any incidents of what the study called intimate partner violence (IPV), which was defined as acts of physical aggression, such as slapping, hitting, or choking. Participants were also asked to detail any other drug use, including alcohol.

Researchers initially thought that marijuana use among married couples would contribute to a higher rate of IPV, based on studies that have connected alcohol or other substance abuse with domestic abuse. However, the results showed that incidents of IPV were significantly lower for both men and women who used marijuana more frequently over the course of the study period. Couples who both used marijuana on a frequent basis appeared to have the lowest risk for partner violence.

Researchers concluded that the decrease in violent events might be due in part to the dulling effect of marijuana on emotional responses, including aggressive or violent behavior. Whether this can be described as a positive effect of marijuana remains a subject of further research.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.