For college students, interpersonal conflict is a reality but is an unpleasant and often stressful experience. Alcohol use may contribute to conflict, as well as marijuana use with or with out concurrent alcohol use.
In a recent study, 427 college freshman males attending a northeastern university completed a survey every day for 55 consecutive days to measure substance use, interpersonal conflict, and delinquency.
Analysis of the data collected showed that drinking increased the chances of conflict occurring within the 1-4 hours after the drinking episode. Both marijuana and alcohol use independently showed increase in likelihood of interpersonal conflict; although the data suggested that the impacts of marijuana are less severe than those of alcohol.
Though the data on marijuana effects is limited and did not include amount used or intensity of effects, it is notable that the students who drank more frequently experienced more interpersonal conflict, but those who had higher instances of simultaneous marijuana and alcohol use did not have an increased likelihood of conflict compared to alcohol alone. As marijuana becomes more available in some states, it is important to understand how it can impact the lives of college students and the level of interpersonal conflict that they face.
Take away: Both alcohol and marijuana use in college freshman males can increase the likelihood of interpersonal conflict. More frequent use suggests higher amounts of conflict, although simultaneous use of both substances does not.
Brown, W.C., Wang, W., Testa, M. (2018). Alcohol and Marijuana Use in Undergraduate Males: Between and Within Person Associations with Interpersonal Conflict. Cannabis. Volume 1 (2). 48-59. doi.org/10.26828/cannabis.2018.02.005