Just In Time for the Stupor Bowl: Study Shows Alcohol, Not Marijuana, Related to Domestic Violence

CANNABIS CULTURE – As the Super Bowl with its glorification of alcohol consumption approaches, NORML reports that men’s consumption of alcohol, but not cannabis, is associated with intimate partner violence, according to survey data published this month in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Investigators at the University of Tennessee and Florida State assessed whether alcohol intoxication and/or cannabis use by college-age men in a current dating relationship was associated with increased odds of physical, sexual, or psychological aggression toward their partner over a 90-day period. They reported: “On any alcohol use days, heavy alcohol use days (five or more standard drinks), and as the number of drinks increased on a given day, the odds of physical and sexual aggression perpetration increased. The odds of psychological aggression increased on heavy alcohol use days only.” By contrast, authors determined that “marijuana use days did not increase the odds of any type of aggression.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men say they have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking (or a combination of these things) by an intimate partner. Furthermore, these estimates are low, the CDC says, since many people don’t report the problem to police, friends, or relatives.

Add emotional abuse to the mix of physical and sexual assault, and 1 in 4 women and 1 in 3 teen girls will experience domestic violence in their lives, says Katie Ray-Jones, president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, an anonymous service that handles some 22,000 calls each month, mostly from women. (Domestic violence victims are overwhelmingly female. Southworth estimates male victims account for between 5 to 15 percent of victims, some of whom are involved in same-sex relationships.)

The Stupor Bowl is awash with beer ads; FoxNews even celebrates the 18 best ones. Thanks to an exclusive sponsorship good through 2015, only Anheuser-Busch will be running ads again this year at the great grunt fest. The company hasn’t described its plans for 2014 yet but in the last Super Bowl the brewer ran six ads spanning four and a half minutes, including one for Budweiser, two for Bud Light, two for Budweiser Black Crown and one for Beck’s Sapphire.

I met one of the Bud Girls (pictured) at an event in the early 90s, and said to her, “You’re promoting the wrong bud.” I was surprised by her answer: “I agree with you.”

“The Super Bowl does not cause domestic violence, and it doesn’t increase domestic violence, but it does increase the public’s awareness of the issue, which will help victims learn about help and resources,” says Cindy Southworth, vice president of development and innovation at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Dangerous enough: alcohol-related car crashes are 75% greater in California on Super Bowl Sunday than on other comparable Sundays in January and February, according to a 10-year analysis of fatal and injury crashes from 2002 to 2011 by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

As Americans are slowly weaned off the # 1 cause of domestic violence – alcohol – an updated report by the University of Kentucky’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences finds marijuana’s CBD cannabinoid could reduce brain damage incurred through prolonged and heavy alcohol consumption. A revised report in the Journal of Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior noted; “transdermal delivery of cannabidiol attenuates binge alcohol-induced neurodegeneration in a rodent model of an alcohol use disorder.”

Meanwhile, in the wake of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington, NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell left the door open for medical marijuana use by NFL players, saying “I don’t know what’s going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine,” even while it was noted that it’s still against their collective bargaining agreement.

Ellen Komp is Deputy Director of California NORML and a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture. She manages the website VeryImportantPotheads.com and blogs at Tokin Woman.

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