Looking at 634 US couples over the first nine years of marriage, the study found that more frequent marijuana use by husbands and wives (two-to-three times per month or more often) predicted less frequent intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration by husbands.

"It is possible that 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," explained lead investigator Kenneth Leonard, director of the University at Buffalo's (UB) research institute on addictions.

The study attempted to clarify inconsistent findings about domestic violence among pot-smoking couples that primarily has been based on cross-sectional data (i.e., data from one point in time).

It found that husbands' marijuana use also predicted less frequent IPV perpetration by wives. Couples in which both spouses used marijuana frequently reported the least frequent IPV perpetration.

"The relationship between marijuana use and reduced partner violence was most evident among women who did not have histories of prior antisocial behaviour," added Philip H Smith, a doctoral graduate from UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The findings suggest that marijuana use is predictive of lower levels of aggression towards one's partner in the following year.

The study appeared online in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

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