Georgia and her husband didn’t realize how much they had changed and grown apart until their kids went off to college. After far too many disagreements and squabbles, they tried marital counseling one last time—and their counselor suggested marijuana.
“It made us giggly, happy, and free of worry. It got us talking. We found each of us more willing to compromise.” Georgia’s husband had more energy, and she was slightly dulled out, which ended up being the ideal combination for a couple whose appetite for life had been on opposite ends of the spectrum up to that point. “The ganja made us sexy again. We had newfound lust and sexual drive,” says Georgia. Six years later, she claims “we’re happier than we’ve ever been. We don’t need cannabis to hold our relationship together, but we also don’t deny that it helps.”
Less stress, more sex
There are strong indications that the science of how cannabis reacts with the brain makes it a stress reliever. And anyone in a relationship knows it’s all too easy to say something you’ll regret in the heat of frequent arguments. For some people, THC in cannabis can reduce anxiety, delay angry thoughts, block out negative stimuli, and stop fights.
THC also triggers the CB1 receptors in the brain that are responsible for the feeling of euphoria, the same sense of euphoria that men and women experience when they have an orgasm. Combine sex and pot and you have the potential for uninhibited relationship gold.
“Weed can intensify orgasms, improve sexual longevity, and even be an aphrodisiac,” says Anthony Franciosi, founder of The Honest Marijuana Company, a producer of eco-friendly cannabis. “Forget all the aromatherapy candles and lingerie. Weed is better than oysters when it comes to getting in the mood.” And that’s gotta be a good thing for a stale relationship.
The stereotypical view of a pot smoker is that of a lazy, careless stoner, but the couples who regularly smoke pot together are actually more trustworthy and loyal to each other, at least according to My420Mate.com, a dating site for pot-smoking singles. Granted, that particular site might be slightly biased, but other, more objective sources, like this study conducted at the University at Buffalo, found that there was less domestic violence among couples who smoke pot together, perhaps indicating that pot exerts a benign, calming influence on behavior.
“Weed can have all kinds of different and fascinating effects on the human brain, and letting someone experience those changes with you shows that you truly believe in their ability to handle you,” says Franciosi. “When you get stoned with your partner, you’re putting yourselves into each other’s hands and truly trusting that each of you will take care of each other. It’s a safe space. If you can’t smoke with someone, can you really trust them? Because I’m not about to give my heart to someone who can’t handle smoking a joint with me. That isn’t safe for either one of us.”
Don’t toke alone
Of course, there are potential downsides to cannabis use for couples as well. It’s not surprising that, in many relationships, both halves of a couple are not equally invested in the use of marijuana. “Marijuana, like many other drugs or vices, may be enjoyed mutually, but may also lead to trouble when one party enjoys it more than the other,” says W. Scott Kimberly, an attorney in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “In cases where marijuana use leads to divorce, either one party greatly increased their frequency of marijuana use, or one party scaled back their marijuana use.”
This drastically different use of cannabis can lead to conflict over when and how much of the drug is being used by either party, while taking away the feel-good emotions that naturally come from using marijuana. “Like alcohol, gambling, and tobacco, marijuana use does not inherently destroy a relationship, but a disproportionate amount of usage on the part of one spouse may lead to resentment, fatigue, and conflict, which ultimately sows the seeds of discontent,” says Kimberly.
Financial and legal downsides
There’s also a potential money issue. Depending on the enthusiasm with which a couple embarks on marijuana as an extracurricular activity, the cost—literally and figuratively—of marijuana usage could be substantial. “Although the mental and physical impacts of marijuana use on a spouse—and therefore on a marriage—may be more obvious, it is important to keep in mind the financial impact that a spouse’s marijuana use can have on a family,” says Meghan Freed, attorney with Freed Marcroft in Hartford, Connecticut. “The amount of money spent on marijuana can be significant and, depending on a family’s financial resources, may negatively impact their ability to pay household bills, purchase groceries, etc.” Drug use may also lead to termination of employment, Freed adds, which in turn creates a financial crisis within the family.
And then, of course, there are legal considerations. Although a growing number of US states have legalized recreational pot, it’s still unlawful in most of the country. Sure, it’s unlikely that you’ll get busted for toking in your bedroom, but you might not want to share your enthusiasm for your new relationship aid on Facebook. Though if cannabis works for you and your partner, you might consider telling your friends (who may have use for relationship aids as well) in person.