Cannabis Decriminalization Linked To Reduction In Domestic Violence
Yet another study proves that cannabis legalization is good for society at large – by keeping families and couples safe from domestic violence.
A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that states that have relaxed consequences for cannabis possession have experienced a significant reduction in serious injuries caused by domestic violence.
Specifically, they found a decline in domestic assaults that have resulted in lacerations, broken bones, and other types of serious physical trauma after cannabis was decriminalized in certain states.
For the study, the researchers assessed federal crime data on domestic assaults occurring in 25 states from 2005 to 2016. They looked for the quantity of cases that involved romantic partners happening each year, and also looked for patterns of these cases such as the involvement of weapons or alcohol.
“When we considered assaults at all levels of seriousness, our results showed that the policy intervention had no effect on violence,” write the authors. “However, this masked more striking and significant results concerning the most serious types of violence – decriminalization of marijuana reduced domestic assaults involving serious injury by some 20%.”
“Within incidents with a serious injury, the number of incidents where the offender was under the influence of alcohol or used a weapon also declined significantly,” the researchers wrote. They also added that “domestic assaults are less likely to inflict serious injury on the victim if a weapon is not used.”
Based on their findings, the study indicates that cannabis, which has sedative and relaxing properties, may have been beneficial during these incidents
“Despite the longstanding debate over whether marijuana contributes to violence, the medical literature suggests that marijuana is effective as a short-term sleep aid and may contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness,” the study’s authors wrote. “By making would-be assailants sleepier, marijuana consumption may make the nature of assaults less serious and injuries less severe. This is likely the simplest explanation and is certainly incomplete,” they write.
This study builds on others that have consistent findings.
An older study by researchers from Yale University and University of Buffalo and Rutgers assessed 634 couples who were in their first 9 years of marriage. They found that couples who smoked cannabis together were less likely to engage in domestic violence or domestic abuse.
During those 9 years, couples were asked to fill out mail-in surveys which asked them to indicate if there was any violence occurring in their household, either by them or by their partner. This was a means of measuring the impact of cannabis use on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Within the first year, 37.1% of husbands admitted that they committed an act of violence, with an average frequency of 4x per year.
They also found that the husbands were more than happy to admit their cannabis consumption, as 28% of them sad that they consumed pot within the year while just 22.7% of the wives admitted the same.
Aside from being asked about their cannabis use, the couples were also asked about their consumption of alcohol and other drugs.
After the 9 years, the researchers found many interesting results. They concluded that cannabis use did have a remarkable impact in decreasing domestic violence, saying that “more frequent marijuana use generally predicted less frequent IPV for both men and women over the first 9 years of marriage.”
“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,” said Kenneth Leonard, head of the UB Research Institute on Addictions, who was also the study’s lead investigator.
The researchers went on to explain that chronic cannabis users showed “blunted emotional reaction to threat stimuli.” In other words, being stoned decreased one’s fight or flight instinct.
They also state that cannabis can’t be compared to other substances like alcohol, which have been known to increase aggression and conflict. The relaxing properties of cannabis can therefore be attributed to helping decrease domestic violence.
Use cannabis to help lighten moods with your significant other. After all, cannabis can be used to help improve romantic relationships.