Does Psilocybin Use Reduce Violence?
On May 29, 2018, the team of Michelle S Thiessen, Zach Walsh, Brian M Bird, and Adele Lafrance published a research article entitled “Psychedelic use and intimate partner violence: The role of emotion regulation” in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The researchers surveyed 1266 community members and examined the association between (A) lifetime psychedelic use and (B) intimate partner violence. We previously examined the connection between psilocybin use and violent behavior. See Psilocybin for Treating Violent Behavior for a detailed summary with references.
Men taking psilocybin less likely to act violently
The newly published research showed that males reporting any experience using lysergic acid diethylamide and/or psilocybin mushrooms had decreased odds of acting violently towards their current partner. Furthermore, the research revealed that male psychedelic users report better emotion regulation when compared to males with no history of psychedelic use.
Forbes recently summarized the study: “men who reported previous use of psychedelic drugs (a.k.a hallucinogens) were less likely to act violently toward their intimate partners, based on their self-reported emotional habits.” The article also pointed out that earlier studies demonstrated “a negative (or inverse) relationship between psychedelics and violence, and suggest that these ‘recreational’ drugs may offer a meaningful way to help strengthen our emotional regulation skills and end intimate partner violence.”
Overall, researchers found that men who had any experience using mushrooms or LSD were about half as likely to behave violently against their current partners as men who had no experience with such psychedelic drugs.
The study did not uncover a statistically significant correlation between (A) women who consume psychedelics and (B) a reduced tendency towards violent behavior. In fact, the researchers noted that their research “did not extend to females.” Nevertheless, Forbes concluded that “Studies and personal experience suggest that hallucinogens could still be useful to women for plenty of other reasons.”
Future Use of Psilocybin for Reducing Violence
The future of psilocybin as an agent for reducing violent behavior will require access to reliable dosage formulations. Presently, the inherent variability in active ingredients creates a significant concern for people willing to pursue treatment options: Very few physicians are willing to recommend drug treatment regimens that fail to control the active ingredients and the amount of those ingredients. People taking psilocybin must be willing to self medicate without their doctor’s assistance and also accept unpredictable and variable results arising from inconsistent dosing.