Marijuana Smoking among Married Couples Predicts Domestic Violence Prevalence

Among married couples who smoke marijuana, there is an inverse relationship between frequency of marijuana use and likelihood of a domestic violence occurrence.

Among married couples who smoke marijuana, there is an inverse relationship between frequency of marijuana use and likelihood of a domestic violence occurrence, the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) researchers reported.

Previous studies have attempted to find a correlation between marijuana use and intimate partner violence (IPV). However, the findings have been unreliable and inconsistent due to cross-sectional data capturing only one point in time, investigators wrote in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

To avoid this fallacy, the researchers examined 634 husbands’ and wives’ marijuana use in addition to monitoring couples for IPV events within their first 9 years of marriage. The investigators also looked at antisocial behavior amongst participants.

Based on adjusted models, the frequency of a couples’ marijuana use decreased IPV incidents perpetrated by husbands. Furthermore, the researchers reported husbands’ marijuana use also drove down IPV occurrences initiated by wives. Overall, the trend was most pronounced among women without antisocial behavior, according to a university statement.

Furthermore, couples who frequently smoke (2 to 3 or more times a month) claimed to have the lowest domestic violence rate.

Lead investigator Kenneth Leonard, PhD, of the RIA, cautioned that their study does not discern whether marijuana use during a certain period of time decreases domestic violence at a specific point in 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,” Leonard explained.

Moreover, Leonard asserted while married marijuana users exhibited less marital aggression, previous research has found they are not less likely to divorce.

“The current study does not address the potential impact of parental marijuana use on children in the family and other problems associated with daily marijuana use,” he said.

In light of their findings, he also suggested additional research be done to verify and build upon their study.

“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,” Leonard commented.