According to a short study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, people who use cannabis on a daily basis may have more difficulty resolving disagreements in their romantic relationships.
Rutgers University researchers questioned 232 cannabis users and their partners who live together in Massachusetts, where adult use of cannabis is legal. They inquired about their frequency of cannabis use as well as their general commitment and contentment in their relationships. They also took each participant’s resting heart rate and breathing rate.
37 percent of cannabis users said they used it less than once a month, 10% said they used it monthly, 20% said they used it weekly, and 33% said they used it daily or almost daily. The bulk of study participants (76%) were white, with 96 men, 122 women, and 14 not disclosing their biological sex.
The researchers asked each couple to spend 10 minutes discussing a major dispute in their relationship, which they may choose from a list provided by the researchers or suggest their own. Money, in-laws, communication, recreation, and sex were all options. The couples then talked about what they agree on in their relationship for five minutes while being videotaped.
Raters who had been trained by the researchers watched the movies and assessed each partner on a scale of 1 to 5 in two areas: conflict engagement and conflict avoidance. Raters rated someone a 5 for engagement if they constantly insisted their spouse change, criticised, or blamed them. Raters rated someone a 5 for avoidance if they frequently avoided, skirted, or ignored issues of dispute. During the 15-minute conflict evaluation, the researchers also assessed their pulse rates and breath.
Cannabis users were shown to be more inclined than non-cannabis users to avoid or respond negatively to conflicts. When the researchers followed up with the study participants to see how they felt about the conflict resolution, they discovered that cannabis users were more likely than non-cannabis users to be satisfied with how the conflict was resolved.
Disparities between cannabis users’ claims and raters’ observations of their behaviours, according to senior study researcher Jessica E. Salvatore, an associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers, could have a negative impact on their relationships over time.
“This implies that users are either uninformed of, or unconcerned about, negative relationship dynamics during and after dispute. Having prolonged, unresolved disputes can be bad to relationships in the long run “Insider spoke with Salvatore. She said that therapists who work with cannabis users may want to consider these findings while counselling them.
According to Salvatore, the study findings complement previous data that cannabis users may suffer increased emotional arousal and trouble with self-regulation. She stated that the study found an association between cannabis usage and dispute resolution, although it is unclear whether there is a direct link between the two.
The study had certain limitations. The researcher couldn’t be sure cannabis users were sober during the interviews and 15-minute dispute resolution session because they didn’t analyse their urine. They also concentrated on frequency and were unable to determine how cannabis consumption technique, quantity, or potency affected results, according to Salvatore.
Existing studies on marijuana’s effects on relationships are few and inconclusive, but they do imply that the substance may increase orgasms and sexual satisfaction, increase emotional intimacy, and lower sex-related anxiety, as previously reported by Insider.