Does Marijuana Use Lead to Violent Behavior?


In the wake of a spate of mass shootings, anti-pot legislators are blaming marijuana, video games, mental wellness, and all the things else but gun accessibility for the seeming boost in gun violence in the United States. In truth, other nations have even issued travel warnings to their citizens about “the prospective for gunfire incidents” if they pay a visit to the U.S. Even though marijuana use is not totally danger-absolutely free, investigation has far from confirmed a hyperlink in between cannabis use and violence.

55 million Americans have attempted cannabis at least when in their lives and 35 million are typical customers who consume at least when or twice a month. Even though cannabis legalization has improved in current years, violent crime has drastically lowered more than the previous quarter-century. A great deal of the scientific proof points to a reduction in violence immediately after legalization, but a lack of lengthy-term research has muddled the debate.

Marijuana Decriminalization Lowers Serious Injuries

In spite of the hemming and hawing from weed alarmists, research have located that marijuana decriminalization really reduces violence. A single study located that cannabis decriminalization has lowered violence. A single study located a 20 % reduce in the incidences of serious injuries (e.g. broken bones, lacerations) due to domestic violence immediately after decriminalization. The University of Pennsylvania analyzed statistics from 25 states from 2005 to 2016. The study confirmed that domestic violence prices didn’t adjust immediately after legalization, but the level of injuries did.

Surprisingly, domestic violence instances involving a weapon decreased by 23.1 %. On top of that, marijuana decriminalization was linked with a 40.7 % reduce in domestic violence instances exactly where alcohol was involved. Researchers think marijuana acts as a substitute for alcohol.

Researchers cited that “given the proof that alcohol is a substance which aggravates violence, the alcohol findings recommend each that (a) marijuana and alcohol are substitutes rather than complements, and (b) the substitutionary use of marijuana most likely mitigates the severity of assaults.” Researchers also think marijuana’s sedative properties make “would-be assailants sleepier” and for that reason their assaults are significantly less serious.

Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

Substance abuse has extensively been believed to trigger violent behaviors, but other components should really also be regarded as, which includes an individual’s character and genetics. It is tricky to assess causation when folks are taking other tougher substances that can induce paranoia and rage. In spite of the limitations, some research have shown that marijuana use, specially heavy use, is correlated with future violent behavior.

A 50-year study published in the journal Psychological Medicine studied 411 boys born about 1953 in London and located that 38 % attempted cannabis at least when in their life. 20 % of the boys started working with cannabis just before they turned 18 and made use of it by means of middle age. A single-fifth of weed customers reported violent behavior immediately after they started working with cannabis compared to only .three % who reported violence just before they began working with cannabis.

The study concluded that “cannabis use predicts subsequent violent offending, suggesting a attainable causal impact.” Sadly, the study was fast to blame pot for the violence when other confounding components could have been at play, which includes family members, peer, and neighborhood danger components. In addition, researchers do not account for the truth that violent offenders may well be additional most likely to consume marijuana, a commonly illegal substance at the time.

Mental Wellness and Violence

Devil’s advocates relish bringing up research that show a hyperlink in between marijuana use and psychiatric issues such as psychosis (schizophrenia), depression, and anxiousness, which they think increases violence. The hyperlink, nonetheless, is impacted by a wide variety of components, which tends to make it challenging to ascertain specifically how marijuana impacts violent behavior. Some researchers have recommended that marijuana causes psychosis, when other people state that these who are predisposed to psychosis are additional most likely to consume marijuana due to a genetic vulnerability.

For instance, a 2018 study located that schizophrenia most most likely leads to marijuana use as a self-medicating method. Research have shown that marijuana use was related with violent behavior, but there are also other research that contradict these findings. A evaluation in 2013 commissioned by the Workplace of National Drug Handle Policy located that “marijuana use does not induce violent crime, and the hyperlinks in between marijuana use and home crime are thin.”

Even though marijuana is identified to trigger acute paranoia and anxiousness, education can support avert dangerous consumption. A lot more generally than not, nonetheless, marijuana is made use of to relieve several of the unfavorable effects of psychiatric issues, which can be triggered by mental or physical trauma. In truth, several states have listed situations like post-traumatic tension disorder (PTSD) as qualifying situations for working with health-related marijuana.

Though marijuana use is not an efficient predictor of future violent acts, there are several precautions that folks should really be taking just before thinking of cannabis use. In some instances, cannabis use can worsen respiratory situations or lead to dependence. Till we have additional peer-reviewed longitudinal research on the effects of marijuana use, we can not demonize a plant that has been made use of for millennia.


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