Study Finds That Psychedelics, Religion Weaken Link to Risky Behavior and Violence

Classic psychedelics are drugs that induce altered states of consciousness and intense auditory and visual hallucinations when ingested. Common classic psychedelics include psilocybin, LSD, DMT and mescaline.

These drugs have been used for centuries by Indigenous peoples in spiritual ceremonies and healing practices.

In most countries, psychedelics are illegal. Despite their status, various studies have determined that these drugs hold promise in the treatment of conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Now, new research has determined that the link between violence and risky behaviors is weaker among individuals who report lifetime psychedelic use as well as the highly religious.

For their research, the investigators were focused on finding out if the use of psychedelics directly impacted behavior or whether religious beliefs or participation influenced behavior. Sean M. Viña, the author of the study, was particularly focused on the link between use of psychedelics, religiosity and violent behavior.

The investigators conducted an analysis of data that included responses from more than 282,000 participants. The data was obtained from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, which conducts annual surveys measuring prevalence of mental-health conditions and substance use across the country.

The investigators focused on responses to queries on respondents’ religiosity, lifetime use of classic psychedelics, the frequency with which respondents attended religious services and the total number of times they had attacked someone with the intention to harm them in the last year. They measured risky behavior by gauging how much respondents enjoyed dangerous activities and their propensity for risky behavior.

The investigators discovered that participants who had used psychedelics even once in their lives had higher assault numbers and were also less religious. However, when other factors were considered, individuals who had used the drugs at least once in their lives were less likely to have assaulted someone.

Frequent attendance of religious services and higher religiosity were also linked to a reduced likelihood of assaulting another.

The investigators also observed that those who had a higher propensity for more risky behaviors were more likely to have assaulted another person, noting that this association was weaker among individuals who were very religious. The researchers also noted that this link was weakest among those who had used psychedelics at least once and were also very religious.

In their conclusion, the investigators emphasized that their findings demonstrated that religious factors could influence the association between behaviors and use of psychedelics. The research’s findings were reported in the “Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.”

Research coming out so far suggests that psychedelics medicine could play a transformative role in healthcare, and companies such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) could be onto something in their drug-development efforts.

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