Magic mushrooms may help curb crimes: Study

TORONTO: Consumption of psychedelic drugs such as magic mushrooms or LSD may decrease the likelihood of antisocial criminal behaviour, a study claims.

Researchers, including those from University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus in Canada, used data obtained from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health to explore the connection between the use of classic psychedelic substances and criminal behaviour among more than 480,000 adult respondents from the past 13 years.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, found that respondents who have used psychedelic drugs had 27 per cent decreased odds of larceny or theft, and 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 behaviour, researchers said.

“The development of innovative and effective interventions to prevent criminal behaviour is an obvious priority,” said Peter Hendricks from University of Alabama in the US.

“Our findings suggest the protective effects of classic psychedelic use are attributable to genuine reductions in antisocial behaviour rather than reflecting improved evasion of arrest,” he said.

The positive effects associated with classic psychedelic use appear to be reliable. Given the costs of criminal behaviour, the potential represented by this treatment paradigm is significant, researchers said.

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