Marijuana Users Less Likely to Engage In Domestic Violence



A team of researchers tracked domestic violence among 1990s newlyweds. One notable finding? In their first year of state-sanctioned coupledom, 37 percent of husbands admitted to some sort of physical aggression against their wives. Most of it was only "moderate" aggression, according to lead researcher Kenneth Leonard—things like pushing or slapping—yet this still seems like a surprisingly high amount. On the less surprising side of things, however: Pot-smoking wives and husbands were significantly less likely to lash out physically

The researchers' original hypothesis was that marijuana use would increase incidences of intimate partner violence (IPV) among married couples. To test this hypothesis, the team of Yale, University of Buffalo, and Rutgers researchers tracked 634 New York newlyweds for nine years. The results

  • more frequent marijuana use by husbands was linked to less violence from husbands
  • more frequent marijuana use by husbands was linked to less violence from wives
  • more frequent marijuana use by both husbands and wives was linked to less violence from husbands

The only group for which marijuana use was not linked to less violence perpetration was wives who had a history of pre-marriage partner violence. Couples in which both spouses reported consuming marijuana frequently had the lowest IPV rates.

Obviously this doesn't mean marijuana makes people less violent per se—maybe the types prone to pot-smoking are just inherently less violent individuals; or perhaps the types prone to partner violence are categorically less drawn to the drug. But it is interesting to contrast these stats with numbers on alcohol, which has frequently been linked to increased incidences of partner violence. In one recent study, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors in January 2014, researchers found that "on any alcohol use days, heavy alcohol use days (five or more standard drinks), and as the number of drinks increased on a given day, the odds of physical and sexual aggression perpetration" by college-age men in relationships increased. Alcohol was also linked to "psychological aggression," but "marijuana use days did not increase the odds of any type of aggression."

But studies showing little link between marijuana and aggression haven't phased the feds. As High Times points out, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) last year "appropriated nearly $2 million in funding for a four-year study to assess whether marijuana use" is linked with partner violence. 

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  1. The only time marijuana use leads to partner violence is when a women gets fed up with her man getting high and playing video games all the time–and pummels him. But he’s unlikely to fight back if he’s stoned…

    1. I honestly can’t think of any time while stoned that I would have had any kind of inclination to be violent about anything. They just don’t go together. Well, except what I do with your mom, but she specifically requests that.

      1. While I’ll agree that weed doesn’t make a person more inclined towards violence, I also don’t think it mitigates much violent tendency either. In my own experience growing up, plenty of the more violent/less impluse-controlling crowd smoked weed. Their use of weed didn’t make them any more or less inclined towards violence. Some were simply violent by their nature and being stoned didn’t alter that in the slightest.

        The notion that getting high makes one a docile bunny is just as farcical as the notion that smoking weed turns one into bloodlusting beast hellbent on rape. Ok, maybe not just as farcical or even anywhere near as farcical, but still false in either event.

        1. Somebody should do a study about this so that we don’t have to rely on vague anecdotal evidence.

          1. The only group for which marijuana use was not linked to less violence perpetration was wives who had a history of pre-marriage partner violence

            Well, I guess the study does kinda hint at that where it states that women with a previous history of beating up their hubbies showed no decrease in their violence.

      2. Eewww! My mom’s been dead for 9 years. Sounds like weed turns you into a necrophiliac…

        1. Oh shit, they’re on to me!

        2. You assume he wasn’t a necrophiliac before the weed.

          1. He’s really got a thing for Paul.’s mom who is also deceased.

            1. He’s just biding his time til my dear old mum passes on.

              1. Don’t think he won’t bide his time with your dog.

        3. Epi has already pre-ordered Nekromatic on blu ray and is eagerly awaiting the release of Nekromantic 2.

          1. J?rg Buttgereit is a genius!

        4. In the 1970s Alice Cooper included a song where he waxes nostalgic about about having intimate relations with a girl cadaver. It’s called “Cold Ethyl”

          one thing no lie
          Ethyl’s frigid as an Eskimo pie.
          She’s cool in bed
          she’s gotta be ’cause Ethyl’s dead

  2. Combine that headline with the finding this one

    In States With Medical Marijuana, Painkiller Deaths Drop by 25%

    and, by jimminy, it’s as if we don’t even have to choose between freedom-of-choice and Good Things Happening…

  3. Q. What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?

    A. Nothing, you already told her twice. Now while stoned!


    1. I got in argument with my GF when was about 20. She cornered me and started wailing at me. I hit her back. I was always stoned when I was 20.

      This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. And the bar is low here. What a fucking mess. I could have walked right through it and gone somewhere else.

      Then I watch that ‘Cops’ TV show where the skinny guy gets arrested after some physical altercation in the trailer park with his 300 lb wife, and thank sweet Jesus that it could have been worse.

      1. She cornered me and started wailing at me. I hit her back.

        I have got to think that this kind of thing was counted in the 37% of the “physical aggression” of newlyweds number. I simply can’t believe that 37% of newly married men start violence with their wives.

        1. Some percentage certainly do. But I think early on in a marriage, some wives will try to test you as much as they can and see how much they can break your will.

          The wise among us simply leave.

      2. I had a girlfriend who got poison ivy on her face around her eyes because she rubbed them after getting the oil on her hands. As it started to fade, it really looked like two black eyes. Each day she would tell me how many people stopped her and asked her (sometimes quite explicitly) if she had been beaten/abused, and what they had asked.

        1. I was bitten by a ginger, and a day or two later my roommate saw me with huge bruises everywhere while I was walking from the shower to my room. She raised an eye like she was going to ask but I cut her off and ruefully sighed “There’s no excuse for partner abuse.”

          Seriously though, lacking a soul totally increases your bite force. Don’t be the next victim!

        2. I hate those fucking people who stopped her and asked those questions with a greater passion than you make love to the Warster’s mommy.

          1. Yes, concern for someone who may be victimized by a violent thug. What monsters! Why, if we let them stop partner abuse, they’re only reinforcing the state’s monopoly on violence.

        3. Exactly. A black eye on a patsy Irish gal is a choice conversation topic.

          No one would ask me where I got a black eye without taking a step back first.

  4. What is the opposite of totally shocking news?

  5. They want $12 to read this heteronormative piece of trash. It is 2014, how can “intimate partner violence” only involve 2 person couples made up of “husbands and wives”?

    I figure lesbians beat the shit out of each other stoned or not but the researchers fail to make the supporting data available in the abstract.

    1. cool story, bro.

  6. Are pot users more likely to be the victims? Or is that only if you count armed thugs breaking down your door and shooting you in your home as ‘domestic violence’?

    1. I don’t know about you, Hugh, but my intimate partner isn’t a cop.

  7. How about violence from wives?

    FTFA: “There was a significant positive association between wives’ marijuana use and wives’ IPV perpetration, but only among wives who had already reported IPV perpetration during the year before marriage.”

    Which the Reason article also indicated, but wait a second. What about wives who were not previously the victims of IPV? Are the just as likely to commit IPV? Less likely? More likely, but not to a statistically significant degree?

    1. How about violence from wives?

      That doesn’t count. The women who were driven to violence are still the victims, because patriarchy, dur!

  8. I’m a toker,
    not a choker.

  9. I don’t really know how anyone could even doubt for a second that alcohol is like a million times more likely to make someone violent than is weed.

    1. I will never forget my first real world experience in learning this. I was having a cook out in my back yard one weekend, which at that time, I was doing most weekends. I was in my early 20s and most everyone there was smoking herb and there were a few people drinking some beers. One of my friends went to his car and brought out a bottle of Jack Daniels and him and another friend were passing it back and forth between them. Everything was and had been totally mellow and cool, when I went back into the house to get something and I hear shouting from outside. I was thinking ‘WTF?’, so I went back out and these 2 guys drinking the Jack Daniels were in a heated argument about something. I saw it was about to get physical so I said ‘hey guys, cool it right now, or leave’. So then they stopped and apologized to me, and continued to drink the bottle dry. About a half hour later, they were at it again. This time, one of them pulled out a blade of some kind and I was like… oh fuck, ‘Hey you fuckers cool it now’. Well, this time they ignored me and continued to argue. I went back in the house and got my rifle and that got their attention. I told them hit the fucking road and they did. Next time I saw those guys one of them apparently didn’t remember any of it and the other said ‘well, he was too drunk’. That’s when I sort of made up my mind that alcohol, hard liquor anyway just might make people a little crazy.

      1. But last of all, I have never seen weed make anyone act like that. I’ve seen it make people act silly, laugh at stuff that’s not funny, or just stare at the wall, but never get stupid like that.

        1. I also have generally never seen weed make anyone violent. I have seen the rare person get kind of “speedy” off of a heavy sativa strain, but they also happened to just be like that normally. As for people who are already prone to violence who get stoned…I don’t hang around with people like that so I don’t have a good sample to pick from.

          1. Funny thing is though, that the real instigator of that confrontation and the only time in my life I’ve actually felt I had to retrieve a firearm for my own safety and the safety of others around me, that guy was and still is one of the mellowest and laid back persons that I have ever known. I’m completely convinced that alcohol can make a raving lunatic out of someone who is otherwise not inclined to be that way at all.

            Still to this day have never seen anyone get violent because of weed.

            This is coming from someone who hasn’t smoked weed in 25 years and I regularly drink beer. So my opinion is pretty unbiased I think.

            1. that guy was and still is one of the mellowest and laid back persons that I have ever known.

              You did say he blacked out.

              At that point parts of the brain are seriously not functioning correctly and shutting down….usually the higher functions which are designed to hold your shit together against the rage of your lower reptilian brain.

              Pot can’t do that. When all the receptors in your head that can receive THC are filled up then no matter how much more pot you smoke they are still filled up…though there probably is a point at which THC can be toxic….of course the same thing can be said about Vitamin C and calcium. Who knows if that kind of toxicity effects the brain. Might just give you cancer or stop your haemoglobin from absorbing oxygen or a million other things not involving the brain.

    2. The reaction to drugs is very personal, and probably somewhat genetic. I don’t mean to brag about taking drugs or being around others that do, but this is true, from my direct observation. Some people get violent on alcohol, but I just kick back. I get paranoid on coke, but some people are more social. I’m fine with acid, but I’ve seen others freak out. Marijuana used to make me happy, now it makes me morose. I don’t have much experience with opium, though have tried it. That’s something to save, and savor, for later.

      1. Reminds me of something Dave Mustaine said about why he was kicked out of Metallica. Something to the effect of him being an angry drunk and they being happy drunks, and being that alcohol was always around, it didn’t make for a good mix.

        I too have seen different people react differently to drugs. I don’t think I’ll ever use coke again. Mainly because most of the people I’ve known who used the stuff tweaked the hell out. Picking the rug for specks and shit like that. No thanks. I can take it or leave it. I don’t want to go to that party.

        My last couple experiences with hallucinogens were not good. Not doing that again. Maybe mescaline with the right people, but I’ve only had the opportunity once and don’t expect to have it again.

        Did try heroin once. Not on purpose either. To make a long story short, someone shot me up with the intention of creating a new customer. The high was amazing. The next couple days were not. Withdrawal was terrible. But I knew that if I did it again, I’d be facing the same thing only worse. So I didn’t. Even though there was more in the next room. All I had to do was whip out some cash.

        Marijuana just makes me horny. Oh, and I’m a happy drunk. No desire to drink with Mr Mustaine.

        That said, I haven’t done anything other than herb and alcohol this century.

  10. But but but the propaganda movies from the 1920s tell me otherwise….

    1. Forget about the old reefer madness, this is the new reefer madness!

  11. The baseball bat becomes REALLY heavy after a couple bong loads…

  12. You could replace domestic violence with any activity and the headline would still be accurate, except, of course, use marijuana.

  13. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me man. Wow.

  14. What about pot smoking women hitting their BF or husband?

    The only gf who ever took a fisted swing at my head was the one who was the biggest pot head.

  15. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) last year “appropriated nearly $2 million in funding for a four-year study to assess whether marijuana use” is linked with partner violence.

    AKA we’ll give you money if you provide the results we want.

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