The holiday season can be a bittersweet time of year; a time of joy, stress, reflection & divorce. The new year brings the highest rate of divorce in the U.S., with The Huffington Post nicknaming January the “divorce month.” This year, however, states with legal cannabis laws are reporting lower rates of divorce.

How might cannabis be keeping couples together?

Earlier this year a study released by the National Academy of Science shared that cannabis use can contribute to the feeling of social reward or love. According to a study conducted at Utah State University, two of the most common reasons for divorce were excessive arguing (56%) and abuse (29%). In marriages where alcohol, drug & opioid abuse occurred, studies have shown that there is also a sharp increase in domestic violence and argumentation. However, with the use of cannabis, the results are the opposite.

A separate study done by the journal of Health Affairs reported that legalization of medical marijuana has been linked to fewer opioid prescriptions. Data showed a decrease in domestic violence occurrences and argumentation in couples where one member used cannabis. This decrease was even greater when both individuals used cannabis at the same frequency. Since cannabis is often used in conjunction with alcohol, researchers also looked into the rates of domestic violence and arguing with these variables. (Huffington Post, 2014) Results still showed a lower rate of domestic violence in these cases when compared to alcohol or drug use in isolation. Researchers credit the reduction of conflict and aggression to the positive effects of cannabis use.

An inverse correlation between cannabis and divorce?

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of cannabis. States with the highest rate of divorce include: Tennessee, Washington, Kentucky, Arkansas (12.5%), Wyoming, Vermont (12.6%), Oregon (12.8%), Oklahoma (12.9%), Maine (13.6%), and Nevada (14.2%). Within these ten states, only four contain a law permitting cannabis usage. The states with the lowest divorce rates include: Minnesota (9.7%), Virginia (9.6%), Illinois (9.5%), Utah (9.4%), Pennsylvania (9.2%), Massachusetts (9.1%), New York (8.4%), New Jersey (8.2%), and North Dakota (8.1%). Within these ten states, seven contain a law permitting cannabis usage. Couples in states without access to legal cannabis have a nearly 50% greater divorce rate when compared to states with legal cannabis access.

Love and Marij is a cannabis advocacy group and educational resource. They work to end the social shaming of cannabis in the wedding industry by releasing inspiration and education on cannabis wedding planning and relationship advice. They help supplement alcohol bars with cannabis bars and in turn help to preserve the sanctity of marriage. They are asking cannabis companies who support their mission to join the Founding 50 sponsorship campaign.

While one cannot conclusively correlate the use of legal cannabis with marital longevity, we remain optimistic around a steady decline in divorce in states with legal cannabis laws.

We would like to extend special gratitude to Niki McDonald, CEO of Love and MariJ, for her authorship, friendship, support and contributions.