Those who smoke pot together, stay together

Studies have found that smoking marijuana reduces anxiety, relieves pain related to arthritis and multiple sclerosis, reduces symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and helps cancer patients build up a healthy appetite.  However, new research has found that couples that smoke pot together were less likely to suffer from domestic violence.

Published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, the study followed 634 couples during their first nine years of marriage. Researchers from the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Public Health along with researchers from the Heath Professions and Research Institute on Addictions found that wives who smoked pot at least two times or more each month with their husbands suffered from less physical violence.

“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,” says led author Philip H. Smith, a doctoral graduate from UB and research scientist at Yale University.  “It does not examine whether using marijuana on a given day reduces the likelihood of violence at that time.”

Women who did have a history of antisocial behavior had the strongest link between smoking pot and reduce cases of domestic violence. The researchers suggest that couple who both use marijuana “may share similar values and social circles, and it is this similarity that is responsive for reducing the likelihood of conflict.”

It appears that marijuana also has other positive mental health benefits. In states where medical marijuana is legal, the rates of death from opioid overdoses have been reduced by approximately 25 percent.

Separate from the domestic violence study, researchers at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Pennsylvania analyzed death certificate data from all 50 states from 1999 and 2010. 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, California, Oregon and Washington being the first states to legalize it before 1999.

The study found that in the states that allow marijuana usage, overdose deaths decreased by an average of 20 percent after on year, 25 percent in two years and up to 33 percent in five and six years. The data reflected overdose deaths from morphine, oxycodone, heroin and other opioids.

The decrease in opioid overdoses could be linked that the fact that marijuana is often used to reduce pain. No one has over overdosed from marijuana. Patients no longer have to rely on the dangerous addictive painkillers that can sometimes fall into the hands of others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 60 percent of people who die from opioid overdoses have a prescription from their doctor.

“Most of the discussion on medical marijuana has been about its effect on individuals in terms of reducing pain or other symptoms,” said lead author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber. “The unique contribution of our study is the finding that medical marijuana laws and policies may have a broader impact on public health.”

While marijuana might help reduce other drug addictions, many states are worried that legalizing it will increase the rates of teens that smoke. More research needs to be done to see all the health risks and benefits. “I think medical providers struggle in figuring out what conditions medical marijuana could be used for, who would benefit from it, how effective it is and who might have side effects; some doctors would even say there is no scientifically proven, valid, medical use of marijuana,” Bachhuber said. “More studies about the risks and benefits of medical marijuana are needed to help guide us in clinical practice.”



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