Smoking Weed Leads to Less Condom Use and More Intimate Partner Aggression

Adolescents are especially at risk. 

Flickr / daddyboskeazy

Your sneaking suspicions are correct: adults are smoking more weed. That may be a no brainer, what with increasing legalization in states and all, but the facts are more adults are using marijuana daily, while overall use in teenagers has been on the decline. And for people who smoke daily — or even just regularly — there have been studies done on how their drug use affects their relationship.

Three studies in particular, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs and the Journal of Sexual Medicine, illuminate how marijuana affects intimate partner aggression, frequency of sex, and condom use. The results are generally pretty negative: you’re more likely to fight, and you’re also careless — but, on the flip side, you’re likely to have more sex if you’re high.

How Smoking Weed Affects Intimate Aggression

For the first study, researchers recruited 183 cohabitating, marijuana-using couples between the ages of 18 and 30. For a month, each partner recorded when they consumed weed and when they fought with their significant other, whether in be verbal aggression in the form of an argument or physical aggression. They also recorded whenever they drank alcohol.

The results showed that when one partner consumed marijuana and the other didn’t, the person who was high was more likely to engage in verbal conflict. There was no effect on the likelihood of physical contact, though, and when both partners were high together, the likelihood of any conflict wasn’t increased. The results were still significant even when alcohol was accounted for.

The Association Between Marijuana and Condom Use

For the study about condom use, the researchers used previously existing data and a meta-analysis to calculate that there was a correlation between getting high and not using condoms — but only for adolescents. Adults were not more likely to forget, but teenagers were. It was noted the data was taken from “high risk” populations, and not necessarily indicative of the general population.

Consuming Cannabis and Frequency of Sex

If that all sounds bad for weed, there’s a positive side for weed and relationships — more sex.

Data from the National Survey of Family Growth reveals that, out of 28,000 women and 23,000 men, women and men who use marijuana daily are more likely to have had more sex. Specifically, women who do not use marijuana reported having sex an average of six times within the last four-week period, whereas women who got high regularly had sex over seven times within the same duration. For men, the difference was 5.6 times on average compared to 7. That’s across the board in terms of race, socioeconomic status, and marital status.

That being said, the study didn’t reveal a direct link between being high and having sex. More research needs to be done beyond just the regularity of sex and smoking to figure out if there’s causation along with correlation.

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