Men Who Used Psychedelic Drugs Are Less Likely to Be Violent to Their Partners, New Study Finds

Men who use psychedelic drugs are less likely to be violent to their partners, according to a new study. iStock

Men who have previously used psychedelic drugs are less likely to act violently against their intimate partners, according to a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

While the use of some drugs, such as alcohol, cocaine or methamphetamine, is associated with increased aggression in people, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that psychedelics tended to have the opposite effect.

Their results showed that men who had used psychedelics one or more times in the past had around a 50 percent reduced chance of being violent toward an intimate partner.

Classic psychedelics include compounds like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which all act on serotonin receptors in the brain.

They are generally not considered addictive and can produce a variety of effects, including changes in perception, emotion, cognition and sense of self.

"Previous research from our lab that looked at men in the criminal justice system found that hallucinogen users were substantially less likely to perpetrate violence against their intimate partners," Zach Walsh, a supervising author of the study from the University of British Columbia, said in a statement. "Our new study is important because it suggests that these effects might also apply to the general population."

For the study, the researchers examined data collected by an anonymous online survey involving 1,266 individuals. Respondents answered questions relating to their lifetime use of LSD and psychedelic mushrooms and completed a questionnaire concerning their emotional regulation.

"Past research found a clear association between psychedelic drug use and reduced partner violence, but the reasons for this effect remained unclear," Michelle Thiessen, a clinical psychology graduate student at the University of British Columbia and lead author of the study, said in the statement. "We found that better ability to manage negative emotions may help explain why the hallucinogen users were less violent."

Thiessen said the new results could one day lead to novel treatments or therapies for reducing domestic violence.