Researchers and other professionals have linked alcohol and other substance abuse to an increase in domestic violence many times in the past. But can cannabis help prevent domestic violence? Researchers from Yale University, University of Buffalo and Rutgers may be closer to providing an answer with a study that was published on Psychology of Addictive Behaviour in 2014.
Research showed that the more often married couples smoked together, the less likely they were to engage in forms of domestic violence.
The study took place between 1996 and 1999, following 634 couples first nine years of marriage. The main goal? Examine whether or not marijuana had an effect on both the husband and wife’s Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines IPV as “physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner.” The study, however, categorizes it as an act of physical aggression.
Over the course of nine years, each couple took mail-in surveys. The surveys asked them to report any violence committed by them or their partner to measure the effects of cannabis use on IPV. After the first year, 37.1% of the husbands had committed an act of IPV. There was an average frequency of four times a year.
The husbands were more obliged to admit their marijuana use, with 28% saying that they smoked pot within the year. Only 22.7% of the wives admitted to their cannabis use.
The couples were not only asked about their cannabis use. But also if they had participated in other drugs use or consumed alcohol. The researchers noted that most studies on substance use and IPV focused on alcohol and that it is considered both a risk and consequence of IPV.
After the nine years had passed, numerous results came out of the study. They concluded that marijuana use decreased domestic violence. The results stated that “more frequent marijuana use generally predicted less frequent IPV for both men and women over the first 9 years of marriage.”
They not only concluded that IPV decreased when a single partner smoked weed. The study also found that the risk of intimate partner violence was at its lowest when both partners partook in smoking marijuana.
Researchers went on to describe that chronic users exhibit “blunted emotional reaction to threat stimuli”. Basically, smoking decreased the individual’s fight or flight instinct.
Marijuana is different than other substances, such as alcohol, because it reduces conflict and aggression, researchers say.
Final Hit: Can Cannabis Help Prevent Domestic Violence?
Can cannabis help prevent domestic violence? Obviously, marijuana doesn’t have the power to suppress something as dark as abuse. Domestic violence is the outcome of one partner feeling the need to control and overly dominate their significant other. Those who witness this type of violence may be more likely to learn and use it in the future.
For now, lighten the mood with your partner and enjoy the relaxation marijuana brings together. There are ways weed can help improve your relationship.
But, make sure to communicate with your partner to understand what they’re comfortable with. It’s important to be open and maintain a mutual respect.