Hallucinogenic drugs could prevent domestic abuse by encouraging feelings of compassion and kindness rather than angerFilippo Monteforte/ Getty Images

Magic mushrooms and LSD have the potential to curb domestic violence, according to researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of Alabama. Associate Professor Dr Peter S. Hendricks said hallucinogens such as psilocybin, which is found in magic mushrooms, and LSD may have a therapeutic potential that can reduce domestic abuse.

"Although we're attempting to better understand how or why these substances may be beneficial, one explanation is that they can transform people's lives by providing profoundly meaningful spiritual experiences that highlight what matters most. Often, people are struck by the realization that behaving with compassion and kindness toward others is high on the list of what matters."

The study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine. looked at 302 men ages 17-40 in the US criminal justice system. Of the 56% of participants who reported using hallucinogens, only 27% were arrested for later Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), as opposed to 42% of the group who reported no hallucinogen use being arrested for IPV within seven years.

A number of studies are investigating the positive effects LSD can have on mental health. The hallucinogenic drug can make people more optimistic, according to a report by scientists at Imperial College London.

The study, called The paradoxical psychological effects of lysergic acid diethylamide, looks into the acute and mid-term psychological effects of the psychedelic drug. 20 volunteers were each given a 75 microgram dose of LSD and a number of tests were carried out on them and then repeated after a fortnight.

Researchers said their findings concurred with the view that psychedelic drugs bring on psychosis-like symptoms. However, a key finding was that they also improve psychological wellbeing in the mid to long term.

Dr Robert Carhart-Harris, who led the study, stated that the drug produced "robust psychological effects, including heightened mood but also high scores on the PSI, an index of psychosis-like symptoms."

"Increased optimism and trait openness were observed two weeks after LSD (and not placebo) and there were no changes in delusional thinking."

Researchers believe that taking LSD brings on an "increased cognitive flexibility [that] leaves a residue of 'loosened cognition' in the mid to long term that is conducive to improved psychological wellbeing."