Although the indulgence in certain mind-altering substances is often linked to an increase in violent behavior, a new study has found that the consumption of hallucinogenic drugs, such as Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin, may actually reduce the potential of domestic violence.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia together with the University of Alabama at Birmingham recently engaged in an exploratory escapade into the effects of hallucinogenic drugs on the psyche as it pertains to the issue of intimate partner violence. What they discovered is that these types of substances seem to diffuse that part of the brain that allows violent actions to erupt, making it more likely for a person to process agitating events with compassion rather than reactionary anger.
The study, which examined over 300 men between the ages of 17 and 40 who are currently serving time in prison for various offenses, found that out of the 56 percent of those who reported using hallucinogenic drugs in the past, only around 27 percent had ever been arrested for domestic violence at some point in their lives. However, this was not the case with the 42 percent who claimed to have no history at all with psychedelics.
“A body of evidence suggests that substances such as psilocybin may have a range of clinical indications,” said lead researcher Peter S. Hendricks, Ph.D. “Although we’re attempting to better understand how or why these substances may be beneficial, one explanation is that they can transform people’s lives by providing profoundly meaningful spiritual experiences that highlight what matters most. Often, people are struck by the realization that behaving with compassion and kindness toward others is high on the list of what matters.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 12 million victims of intimate partner violence every year, a phenomenon that leads to over 16 percent of the murders in the United States. Researchers believe that in addition to the countless therapeutic benefits that have been reported throughout the past six decades in association with hallucinogenic substances, their latest findings could eventually lead to a reduction in domestic violence rates across the nation.
“Recent studies have shown that psilocybin and related compounds could revolutionize the mental health field,” Hendricks said. “However, additional research is needed. This study suggests that hallucinogens could be a useful avenue for reducing IPV, meaning this topic deserves further attention.”
Unfortunately, hallucinogenic drugs, much like cannabis, are classified as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, preventing researchers from really digging in to examine the potential health benefits of these substances. However, LSD and psilocybin have shown promise in relieving the symptoms of a number of conditions ranging from alcoholism to post traumatic stress disorder.
(Photo Courtesy of MintPress News)