Study Suggests Psychedelic Drugs Could Reduce Criminal Behavior


Source: University of Alabama, Birmingham

Summary: A new research finds that psychedelic drugs may reduce the likelihood of an antisocial criminal behavior.


Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham found that, treatments in which classic psychedelics like psilocybin (often referred as magic mushrooms), LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) and mescaline (found in peyote) are linked to reduce the likelihood of an antisocial criminal behavior. These findings were coupled with old and new evidence, make a point that these classic psychedelics may provide long-lasting benefits for the criminal justice populations. This obviously suggests that clinical research with classic psychedelics in forensic settings has to considered. The findings are published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Drugs for therapeutic purposes

Credit: University of Alabama at Birmingham

The data for the current study is obtained from National Survey On Drugs Use and Health and administered by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Researchers studied the relationships between use of psychedelics and criminal behavior in over 48,000 U.S. adult respondents from the past 13 years. Having ever used a classic psychedelics was linked with 27% decrease in the odds of committing theft, a 12% decrease in the odds of committing assault, a 22 % decrease in the odds of arrest for a property crime, and an 18 % decrease in the odds of arrest for a violent crime in the past year. To contrast, the illicit use of other substances was linked with an increased likelihood of criminal behavior.

Hendricks said, “These findings are consistent with a growing body of research suggesting classic psychedelics confer enduring psychological and prosocial benefits”, “Classic psychedelics can produce primary mystical experiences—also known as primary religious experiences or peak experiences—and have been used for millennia across cultures with therapeutic intention” and further added, “The development of innovative and effective interventions to prevent criminal behavior is an obvious priority.”


More Information: Peter S Hendricks et al. The relationships of classic psychedelic use with criminal behavior in the United States adult population, Journal of Psychopharmacology (2017). DOI: 10.1177/0269881117735685


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