COVID-19: Cannabis safer for home relaxation than alcohol, says pot activist Jodie Emery

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      People spend money on things that give them comfort.

      This is especially true during stressful times, like the one the world is going through at present because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      One of the things that soothe people is alcohol, and as well-known cannabis advocate Jodie Emery notes, many consumers are responsible drinkers.

      But as people hunker down in their homes to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Emery suggests that it’s a good idea to promote cannabis for relaxation as an alternative to alcohol.

      Alcohol has been identified by experts as a risk factor in domestic violence, and the Vancouver-based activist is concerned that about its impact in families during this pandemic.

      “Alcohol does contribute to assault and crimes of all sorts,” Emery told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview Wednesday (March 25).

      In contrast, “cannabis reduces domestic violence”, Emery said.

      “So I would suggest the safest choice in isolation is to use cannabis responsibly, and to limit your alcohol intake just because alcohol is also not very good for the immune system and health,” Emery said.

      A 2014 study by a research team from the University of Buffalo found that cannabis use lessens the risk of aggression between partners. 

      The study, which tracked 634 couples over a period of nine years, “demonstrated that couples in which both spouses used marijuana frequently reported the least frequent IPV [intimate partner violence] perpetration”.

      “The finding that couples’ marijuana use generally predicted less frequent IPV perpetration, and that couples in which both spouses frequently used marijuana were at the lowest risk for IPV perpetration, has potentially important public health implications,” the authors stated.

      The World Health Organization defines intimate partner violence as actions that involve not only physical aggression.

      It also includes psychological abuse, forced sex, and different forms of controlling behaviour, like keep a partner away from family and friends.

      In a fact sheet, the WHO stated that alcohol consumption, “especially at harmful and hazardous levels is a major contributor to the occurrence of intimate partner violence”.

      According to the WHO, alcohol use “directly affects cognitive and physical function, reducing self-control and leaving individuals less capable of negotiating a non-violent resolution to conflicts within relationships”.

      With the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19, Emery said in the phone interview with the Straight that alcohol might aggravate stress among people that are now spending more time together at home.

      “There are concerns from people that alcohol use might go up, and the [domestic] abuse and the resulting negative impacts might also increase too,” Emery said.

      Emery stressed that this is the reason “why it's so important to promote cannabis as a safer alternative to relax”.

      “Alcohol is very addictive. And people might turn to it too many times in this period of stress. They should avoid that,” Emery said.

      “So if they have the alternative of cannabis, they should do it,” she continued.

      Now that couples have more time at home, Emery suggested that they can take their affair with cannabis to the next level.

      “If they can grow their own cannabis, that’s even better because it's therapeutic,” Emery said.

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