UB study: Less domestic violence when couples smoke pot

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A new study by the University of Buffalo has found that couples that smoked marijuana were less likely to engage in domestic violence.

Researchers in UB’s School of Public Health partnered with the Health Professions and Research Institute on Addictions and studied 634 couples for the report.

Researchers looked at couples over the first nine years of marriage, with these findings:

  • More frequent marijuana use by husbands and wives (two-to-three times per month or more often) predicted less frequent intimate partner violence (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 purpose of the study wasn’t to find out if smoking pot led to a decrease risk in spousal abuse. It was taking a closer look at the affects of alcohol addiction on a marriage.

“I think we were all surprised that [marijuana] led to that significant of a reduction in violence,” said Ken Leonard, the University at Buffalo Director of Research Institute on Addictions.

UB followed 634 couples to examine how alcohol influences a marriage and how marriage influences their drinking. In order to do that, researchers also had to look at what else could cause fights such as their personalities, choices that affect their health, even smoking weed.

“Particularly when both the husband and wife reported frequent marijuana use that there were lower levels of both male partner aggression and female partner aggression,” said Leonard.

Of the couples, 22 percent of the wives smoked pot, while 28 percent of the husbands did.

“Couples that both of them use marijuana sort of have similar lifestyles and similar likes and similar dislikes,” said Leonard.

So is this the best use of university money?

“The primary reason is to understand how we can intervene with couples to improve both their marriage outcomes, as well as their health outcomes,” said Leonard.

The study was funded by the National Institutes on Alcoholism and Abuse. Despite the findings, couples who don’t already smoke weed didn’t seem keen on taking up the habit.

“Not in our marriage, not in our marriage. Whatever anyone else wants to do in theirs, it’s up to them, but it’s not in ours,” said Sheri and Dennis Evchich.

“No kind of drug would be good on a marriage. Not good,” said Emily Jonas John.

Around 400 couples stayed with the study for the full nine years. That’s about 71 percent of the total number of couples that began the study.

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