Reducing criminal behavior by psychedelic drugs

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psychedelic drugs

Researchers suggests that common psychedelic drugs such as magic mushrooms, LSD and mescaline a substance derived from the peyote cactus may reduce criminal offences.

The new study by UBC Okanagan’s Associate Professor of Psychology Zach Walsh, found that psychedelic drugs are associated with a decreased likelihood of antisocial criminal behaviour. Further, key findings of the study are that respondents who have used psychedelic drugs had 27 per cent decreased odds of larceny or theft.

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Almost 22 per cent decreased odds of arrest for a violent crime in the past year. At the same time, lifetime use of other illicit substances was generally associated with increased odds of criminal behavior.

From University of Alabama Lead author, Assoc. Prof. Peter Hendricks, used data obtained by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to explore the connection between the use of classic psychedelic substances and criminal behavior. Among more than 480,000 American adult respondents from the past 13 years.

“These findings add to a growing body of research suggesting that use of classic psychedelics may have positive effects for reducing antisocial behaviour,” said Walsh. “They certainly highlight the need for further research into the potentially beneficial effects of these stigmatized substances for both individual and public health.”

Although, Hendricks says that psilocybin and related compounds could revolutionize the mental health field.

Positivity and transcendence

“The development of innovative and effective interventions to prevent criminal behavior is an obvious priority,” Hendricks adds. “Our findings suggest the protective effects of classic psychedelic use are attributable to genuine reductions in antisocial behavior. Rather than reflecting improved evasion of arrest. Simply put, the positive effects associated with classic psychedelic use appear to be reliable. Given the costs of criminal behavior, the potential represented by this treatment paradigm is significant.”

Moreover, Walsh points out that research on the benefits of psychedelic drugs started decades ago, primarily to treat mental illness. However, it stopped due to the reclassification of the drugs to controlled substances in the mid-1970s. Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in psychedelic medicine.

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“More research needed to figure out factors underlie these effects,” Walsh says. “But the experiences of unity, positivity and transcendence that characterize the psychedelic experience. It may have lasting benefits that translate into real-world consequences.”

[ source:University of British Columbia]