Cannabis and Couples: Does It Really Improve the Quality of Your Relationship?

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Since medical and recreational cannabis use was legalized in Canada in 2018, an increasing number of people, including couples, have been using it with the belief that it is harmless. The substance is, in fact, second to alcohol for being Canada’s most commonly consumed substance.

In the same vein, many people believe that cannabis can improve your life, specifically in terms of emotion, creativity, focus, and sleep. Couples have attested that sex is better after a few tokes.

However, not everything about marijuana can be considered positive. While cannabis use can offer various benefits, it can also negatively affect personal and professional relationships, especially when its use becomes uncontrollable.

So, is cannabis in Ottawa good or bad for a couple? Does it strengthen a relationship and help couples resolve their conflicts better? Here’s what scientists have found so far:

What Do Academicians Say?

Whether occasional substance use is good or bad for the health of your relationship has been controversial in academic circles and beyond. Some claim it’s associated with decreased relationship satisfaction and increased aggression and divorce rates. Others say that its effects are harmless and may benefit a relationship’s health.

To look at every side of these claims, let’s take a look at what each research or study revealed:

Regular cannabis users may find it more difficult to resolve conflicts.

Rutgers and Mount Holyoke College published a study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence that looked into how cannabis use is associated with how couples relate. The study was conducted on 145 couples (with at least one cannabis user) and involved measuring the resting heart rate and breath of each participant.

The study revealed that individuals who use cannabis frequently had the tendency to exhibit a decline in parasympathetic withdrawal while they spoke with their partner. Users who used marijuana more frequently displayed more demanding and critical behaviours while avoiding full-blown conflicts. This finding indicates that frequent cannabis users are less equipped to let things pass and move on to more positive matters.

In addition, a collaborative study posits that many cannabis users are not aware of the possibility of problematic dynamics in their romantic relationships since they believe they are doing it better.

Cannabis can impact relationship intimacy.

Researchers from the University of Buffalo and the University of Houston let 183 couples participate in a 30-day diary study to determine whether intimate encounters coincided with cannabis use. They asked participants to keep track of all the times they used marijuana and all intimate events via a mobile app. Participants reported using cannabis 1 out of every 2 days during the test period.

The study reveals that solo marijuana use has a positive impact on relationship intimacy. The use of two methods of analysis led the authors to find evidence supporting the positive effects of marijuana use during subsequent intimate encounters when it was consumed together. Findings for both male and female intimate partners were identical.

Long-term adverse effects due to out-of-control cannabis use can impact a user’s brain.

The study by Dr. Robert Navarra has found evidence that indicates that, in some individuals, long-term, heavy cannabis use changes the brain’s reward circuitry (mesocorticolimbic system) and the dopamine neurotransmitter system (brain chemicals linked to pleasure). Simply, the uncontrollable use of cannabis use can result in addiction, which can exacerbate relationship problems.

Dr. Navarra recommends that couples who are considering cannabis need to discuss this decision with their partners. Doing so allows couples to determine and analyze their thoughts, feelings, and reactions regarding any relevant information.

For more reliable studies regarding cannabis consumption, you can also refer to CCSA. However, if you’re stuck, you should try to talk it out with a third party, like a therapist for relationship counselling in Windsor.

Existing studies that determine the influence of cannabis on the quality of a couple’s relationship are short and inconclusive. However, a few of them suggest that the substance can boost sexual satisfaction, increase the instance of orgasms, lower sex-related anxiety, and enhance intimacy.

Even though many studies have proof of the potential benefits cannabis has on romantic relationships, especially in terms of intimacy, it’s worth noting that correlation does not imply causation. More research in the future must be conducted so Canadians can fully comprehend how weed can impact their relationships.