Cannabis users have illusions about how their relationship works


  • In France, 900,000 people use cannabis every day.
  • Cannabis users have little ability to recognize problems in relationship dynamics.

“If you can’t see the problems, you can’t solve them”. This is the conclusion of the lead author of a study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, on the link between cannabis use and marital relationships. According to the researchers, cannabis users showed a decreased ability to react flexibly to stress during conflict and considered their relationships to function better compared to objective reports from independent evaluators.

Signs of relationship function

“We looked at different indicators of relationship functioning: people’s level of satisfaction and commitment to their relationship, their behavior and physiology during a conflicting lab interaction, and their perception of their discussion. conflict and their next relationship “, said Jessica Salvatore, associate professor in the psychiatry department at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

In the study, 145 couples in which at least one partner had used cannabis were asked how often they used the substance and how satisfied they were with their relationship.

Evaluate the physiological response to stress

The couples were filmed discussing for 10 minutes a topic they considered a major source of conflict, in which the researchers measured their physiological response to stress by their heart rate and respiration.

They then had a five-minute discussion about their agreement, after which the researchers asked them how they perceived the conversations and how satisfied they were with the resolution of the conflict. .

The videos were viewed by two groups of trained evaluators who rated each partner’s conflict behavior, including avoidance (deviation, exclusion, or disregard for aspects of the disagreement) and negative interaction (solicitation). a change, criticism or blame) on other five -point scales.

Additional reviews and requests

In addition to their difficulty coping with stress, cannabis users also expressed increased criticism and needs, avoided conflict during discussion, and were less able to adapt themselves to discussing positive aspects. in their relationship.

However, in contrast, when asked how they thought about talking about the conflict, cannabis users said they were more satisfied with how the conflict was resolved and they didn’t think they were using solicitation strategies or avoidance.

“It is important to note that the results of this study do not imply that cannabis use is generally good or bad for relationships. However, they do provide insight into how couples are better able to manage conflict and reach resolution. “, Said Salvatore.

Health risks

Cannabis use is especially common even when scientific evidence of health risks is accumulating. Young people, whose brains mature up to about 25 years of age, are particularly affected. The impact is measured in terms of physical and mental health but also academic achievement and social and professional interaction, according to the Interministerial Mission for the Fight against Drugs and Addictive Behaviors.

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