New research findings from a study found that the more often couples smoke marijuana, the less likely they are to engage in domestic violence.

The study, which followed 634 couples, was conducted by researchers in the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions and Research Institute on Addictions (RIA),  and appeared in the online edition of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors in late August.

The bigger the pothead, the less propensity for violence between intimate partners.  Following couples over the first nine years of marriage, researches discovered more frequent marijuana use by husbands and wives (2-3 times a per month or more) predicted less frequent intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration by husbands as well as wives.

Couples that smoke together had the fewest incidents of domestic violence, according to the study’s lead author Philip H. Smith, PhD, an associate research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University.

Lead investigator Kenneth Leonard, PhD at the UB Research Institute on Addictions says this points to lower aggression in those couples that choose to pass the peace pipe.  “These findings suggest that marijuana use is predictive of lower levels of aggression towards one’s partner in the following year.” Leonard says. “As in other survey studies of marijuana and partner violence, our study examines patterns of marijuana use and the occurrence of violence within a year period. It does not examine whether using marijuana on a given day reduces the likelihood of violence at that time. Leonard is director of the UB Research Institute on Addictions at Yale.

“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.

Researchers say, however, that more research needs to be done before any true conclusions can be made. “Although this study supports the perspective that marijuana does not increase, and may decrease, aggressive conflict,” he says, “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.”