Psychedelic drug use associated with reduced partner violence in men, says study

A new study published by Kelowna researchers tested 1,266 people

Men who have used psychedelic drugs are less likely to be violent towards their partners, according to a new study published by UBCO researchers.

In a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers from UBC’s Okanagan campus discovered that men who have used psychedelic drugs in the past have a lower likelihood of engaging in violence against their intimate partners, according to a UBCO news release.

“Although use of certain drugs like alcohol, methamphetamine or cocaine is associated with increased aggression and partner violence, use of psychedelics appears to have the opposite effect,” says clinical psychology graduate student and study lead author Michelle Thiessen. “We found that among men who have used psychedelics one or more times, the odds of engaging in partner violence was reduced by roughly half. That’s significant.”

Related: How can we change the public discussion on drug addiction?

Psychedelic drugs act on serotonin receptors in the brain. Classic psychedelics include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The effects vary but can produce mystical experiences and changes in perception, emotion, cognition and the sense of self. Classic psychedelics are not considered to be addictive, the release said.

“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,” said UBC professor and supervising author Zach Walsh. “Our new study is important because it suggests that these effects might also apply to the general population”

Thiessen, Walsh and colleagues Adele LaFrance and Brian Bird from Laurentian University based their results on an anonymous online survey of 1,266 people recruited from universities and through social media. Respondents were asked to disclose their lifetime use of LSD and psilocybin mushrooms and then complete a questionnaire that assessed multiple aspects of their emotion regulation.

“Past research found a clear association between psychedelic drug use and reduced partner violence, but the reasons for this effect remained unclear,” Thiessen said. “We found that better ability to manage negative emotions may help explain why the hallucinogen users were less violent.”

Thiessen says her results could one day lead to novel treatments to reduce violence.

“These findings add to the literature on the positive use of psychedelics and suggest that future research should explore the potential for psychedelic therapies to help address the international public health priority of reducing domestic violence.”

The study was published with funding in part from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Saanich set to crack down on overnight camping in parks

Local community leader says new measures promise to protect Cuthbert Holmes Park

Victoria woman to cycle Portugal as winner of BC Bike to Work Week

Malene Foyd logged 49km cycling to work with the Ministry of Environment; “I always bike to work, rain or shine.”

Victoria man in custody after downtown stabbing

Officers arrested suspect without incident, hours after afternoon stabbing

Chronic disease no obstacle for ultra-cyclist

Cross-Canada ride raises funds for Crohn’s disease

Ride Don’t Hide hits the road around Greater Victoria

More than 400 riders ride 7 to 100 km to raise awareness and funds for mental health programs

Painted pianos pop up for public play Friday in Oak Bay

Pianos can be played during the day and will be covered overnight

Late Bellingham homer sinks HarbourCats at home

Visiting Bells take two of three West Coast League games in Victoria, Cats off to Walla Walla

POLL: Do you have a family doctor?

“I don’t have a family doctor,” is an all too familiar phrase… Continue reading

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Saanich mayor says results of amalgamation referendum are not predictive

Mayor Richard Atwell warns against reading too much into the outcome of… Continue reading

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

Most Read