Researchers at Yale, Rutgers and the University of Buffalo found that marijuana use among married couples decreased the amount of domestic violence incidents over a nine-year period, the Huffington Post reported.
The study, published in the journal Psychology and Addictive Behaviors, followed 634 couples during the first nine years of their marriage and measured instances of intimate partner violence (IPV), defined as acts of physical aggression like hitting, choking or slapping a partner, on an annual basis.
“We found that more frequent marijuana use by husbands and wives predicted less frequent IPV perpetration by husbands,” the study’s abstract read. “Husbands’ marijuana use also predicted less frequent IPV perpetration by wives.”
Researchers also found that couples in which both spouses smoked the drug reported the least amount of violence.
“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,” lead author Philip H. Smith told the Buffalo News.
Lead investigator Kenneth Leonard noted, however, that the study looked at behavioral patterns, rather than “whether using marijuana on a given day reduces the likelihood of violence at that time.”
The results ran counter to other studies connecting substance abuse involving alcohol to increased rates of domestic violence.
[Image: A man smokes cannabis at an exhibition in Spain in September 2012, via Agence France-Presse]