Marijuana can be one of humanity’s greatest common denominators, a hobby that brings together people from all walks of life who discover over a slow-burning joint that they maybe aren’t all that different after all. But it can also be divisive, a habit that can turn off colleagues, friends, and perhaps especially, romantic partners.
We were curious about how cannabis users have navigated relationships in which their partner doesn’t share their love of weed. So we turned to one of the largest online forums for cannabis lovers.
We asked Reddit users on r/marijuana how they have navigated “mixed relationships” like these, and within hours had well over 70 responses.
Here’s what we learned. (Most of the interviewees preferred to be referenced only by their Reddit usernames.)
Compromise is key
Relationships are largely about compromise, and judging by the answers that came in, this is definitely the case for people who have been in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share their love of weed. For these Reddit users, the key isn’t being forced to quit, it’s about finding a way to adapt to the person in your life that you love.
Reddit user “baseballnoble,” a 24-year-old man from the Pacific Northwest, has been with his wife for the past five years, and they have a baby together. He said that weed hasn’t caused much friction in their relationship, even though “it did come up in the early days that she felt like I liked weed more than her.”
How did he change her mind? Pretty simple, really.
“I was able to prove to her that’s not the case by always being there for her and never ditching her to go smoke. I always go at a time that’s convenient for both of us.”
He also said that he has to smoke “as far away as possible” from his wife, who doesn’t like the smell or taste of weed on his breath.
“I just try to abide by what she wants. The saying is really true about a happy wife = happy life.”
Reddit user “ohdeejubilee” said that while his girlfriend hates the smell of cannabis, they eventually “came to the compromise that around her I would only use cartridges (smell doesn’t linger), and I obviously go to a different part of the house while medicating.”
But even if a peaceful compromise has been reached, that doesn’t mean that cannabis wasn’t a real issue in these relationships earlier on.
“It’s ok now, but [it] was a real point of contention at one time. Maybe the only thing that we really have fought about,” ohdeejubilee added.
“Jackxiv” is a daily smoker but his wife doesn’t partake. He said the key for people in his position is to “just plan so your smoking is as little of an inconvenience to your partner as possible.”
He and his wife have been married for five years and so far it hasn’t been much of an issue, he said, “as long I try to stay mindful of the time I am eating up by smoking and plan my sessions so she is not waiting on me.”
He added that it is key that “your partner knows smoking is part of who you are and that they are not going to change that,” and that “as long as your partner accepts you and you are considerate, there is no real possibility of an issue.”
A canadian Reddit user who goes by the handle “Schmeeble” said that he started using cannabis when the country legalized in 2018 but that his wife has still never tried cannabis. He said she “doesn’t like that I do it at all, but we’ve agreed that when I do it, I go into the garage. We have kids in their late teens and she wants me to be discrete about it around them.”
He added that while he’d love for her to try cannabis sometimes, he doesn’t pressure her to do so, and in the meantime, “I think we just agree to disagree.”
They don’t like weed, but they like what it does for me
Several Reddit users described a dynamic in their relationship in which their significant other never starts using cannabis or becomes a fan, but learns to accept it when they see the benefits it provides their partner. Or, they might not like weed, but they like their partner more when they use weed.
Reddit user “Kyle8597” said that his girlfriend, a nurse, is not allowed to use cannabis because of her job, and is also averse to trying it because she has relatives with drug abuse problems.
“She’s slowly come to realize that weed for me isn’t just something I do for fun, it helps my anxiety and lets me think with a clear mind instead of always being anxious and overthinking,” he said.
“In the beginning it bothered her that I was ‘high’ when we hung out and she thought it was dumb,” he added. “Now she has no problem with it and actually prefers when I do smoke.”
Martin Smith, a 28-year-old resident of Florida (“supplicated” on Reddit), said his fiancee “doesn’t handle weed well” and doesn’t like when he smokes in the same room as her — or the amount of money he spends on it.
The silver lining? “She loves seeing me high and happy.”
He said that his partner “knows I smoke mainly as a mood stabilizer and to help with my sadness,” adding, “I think it’s important that one partner knows the reasoning why the other smokes.”
For “alisun444,” her boyfriend tends to get anxious when he’s high, “but for me it’s medicine that cures my anxiety. He is very respectful of me and says it doesn’t bother him at all as long as I am happy. I’m a lucky girl!”
And as for FlowerChild5555’s husband, he may not like how much money she spends on weed, “but he doesn’t complain. He likes me better with weed.”
The ‘never again’ horror stories
Other Reddit users weren’t so lucky. They told of being in relationships with people who knew from the get-go they enjoy cannabis — and things only went downhill from there.
Reddit user “username8305” said “an ex of mine made it clear from the beginning that she didn’t like cannabis and hated the fact of me smoking with that being said I still pursued the relationship hoping things would somehow change.”
He said he later agreed to quit smoking weed but found he began feeling anxiety, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and that he was just not himself anymore.
“I turned into a completely different person which I hated and I could tell she ended up ghosting me and I still feel like a complete idiot.”
For 46-year-old Reddit user “roaringfork,” things started out alright, buy by the end of his 25-year marriage his wife ended up using his relationship with marijuana in a contentious divorce and custody battle.
“Careful when that shift happens amidst a home with children and that simple pleasure becomes something you have to explain to a judge,” he said.
“Be cautious especially where it may be illegal. You could lose everything and I put nothing past a disgruntled ex.”
They weren’t cool about it at first but now they are
It’s a cliche of sorts, but in time couples sometimes do start to look like each other, or at least start sharing some of the same interests and habits. Sometimes, the same can happen with weed.
Christine, who goes by “accidentalLover” on Reddit, said that when she met her partner she was the one who abstained — at first.
“I was the one who wasn’t into it in the relationship. Mostly because he kept trying to force it on me. I think he really wanted a girl he could get high with even though I was fine with him smoking and didn’t even complain about the smell. Now I’m into it though lol.”
Christine added that for couples, if their flaw or habit “is something you really can’t put up with and it’s not something they […] want to stop or change then maybe you aren’t a good fit. Staying with someone doesn’t necessarily mean you have to like what it is they are doing, it means you love them enough to let them be themselves and not let it become a problem to the relationship.”
Rafael, a 29-year-old who goes by “redeyes-blackdragon” on Reddit, smokes weed on the weekend. He said at first his wife was not OK with his cannabis use, because her brother had been in drug treatment.
He said that he “explained to her about marijuana, that it’s a different kind of drug,” and that “I’m a normal person who works and just smoke on weekends, I don’t smoke everyday. Now she is used to that.”
Be upfront about expectations
Brandon, a 35-year-old Vermont resident (“digitalkemical27” on Reddit), said that before he and his wife — who was also a smoker — got married 11 years ago, “the biggest thing was setting expectations from the beginning.”
Brandon said he “told her I would likely never quit smoking weed. Later on, when she decided to quit, she made sure I was clear that she didn’t expect me to quit as well.”
He also has his own theory about couples who fight over cannabis.
“I think generally if couples are experiencing friction over weed, there’s something else going on — either one of them buying into misinformation or the smoker not meeting other expectations in the relationship. Weed is pretty benign by itself, but I can see how it could be used as a scapegoat to blame other behavior on.”
For some cannabis fans, being upfront about expectations means drawing a line in the sand.
“Not smoking is a deal breaker,” said a Reddit user named “SatiatedPotatoe,” adding that “anyone who would want me to revert to who I was before weed, does not have my wellbeing at mind and isn’t worth further pursuit. So no, the right person would be able to get past weed.”
At least you don’t have to share
But while not having a shared hobby with your partner can be a real drag, it definitely has one very clear benefit — you don’t need to share your weed.
As Rafael (aka “RedEyes-BlackDragon”) put it, “she just drinks beer like she always did, never wanted to try weed, but she don’t care if I smoke. Better for me, I don’t have to share it.”
As “Kingcal” put it, “my girlfriend doesn’t smoke. Barely even drinks. But she’s very chill about me smoking. Doesn’t complain about the smell, nag me to smoke less/quit, etc. In a way, it’s better than dating someone who smokes because I don’t have to share, haha.”
And even if your significant other doesn’t partake, you may meet people in their circle — or immediate family — who are much more on your wavelength.
“I dated a guy that didn’t smoke but his mom and brother were long time smokers. He didn’t give one shit and it was great to go over to his family’s place and be welcomed with a bong hit!,” said Reddit user “sailorbea,” describing the type of potential in-laws that a lot of us could use in our lives.