Domestic abuse is a problem in the U.S. About 2.3 million Americans are raped or assaulted by current or former intimate partners every year.

But new research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggests that there might be a treatment option for this ugly form of abuse, in psychedelic drugs.

That’s right, through an extensive analysis of over 1,266 study participants, researchers found that men who had used psychedelics were less likely to commit acts of domestic violence. And not by any trivial amount either — the data shows that guy’s who’ve tripped balls are 50 percent less likely to try and harm their significant other.

“That's significant,” says lead study author, Michelle Thiessen. “Although use of certain drugs like alcohol, methamphetamine or cocaine is associated with increased aggression and partner violence, use of psychedelics appears to have the opposite effect.”

This effect doesn’t seem to be limited to any one type of hallucinogen, either. Whether you’re using mescaline, LSD, DMT, MDMA, or psilocybin doesn’t seem to matter — the end result is less partner-on-partner violence.

The study began as an assessment of prisoner violence, Thiessen says, to see if men in prison who had used psychedelics were any less or more prone to violence than non-psychedelic users. But when Thiessen and her team recognized how significant the difference was, they decided to expand their study sample.

Previous research from our lab that looked at men in the criminal justice system found that hallucinogen users were substantially less likely to perpetrate violence against their intimate partners,” says Zach Walsh, a UBC professor and supervising author of the study. “Our new study is important because it suggests that these effects might also apply to the general population.”

This is not the first time that this pattern has been observed, either. In the 1950’s and 60’s when soldiers were given LSD as part of the MK-Ultra CIA program, many of the study participants decided to quit the military after their psychedelic experience. They realized something in the throes of their hallucinations that freed them from their military mindset, decided they didn’t want to help kill other humans and left.

Naturally, the government was not pleased by these results and stopped giving their own soldiers psychedelics for fear that they would lose more soldiers if they did. Those findings were buried for many years.

Thiessen and her team’s new findings are extremely promising for psychedelic acceptance. Not only because the results de-stigmatize hallucinogens as dangerous, scary drugs that are bad for people’s mental health — but also because they may offer a new route in treating and even preventing domestic abuse. Psychedelic treatment could become a novel new way in combating this issue.

"These findings add to the literature on the positive use of psychedelics and suggest that future research should explore the potential for psychedelic therapies to help address the international public health priority of reducing domestic violence," says Thiessen.

Who knew the answer to such an ugly and persistent problem was right under our noses all along? Who could have guessed that psychedelic drugs were the answer to domestic abuse? First we discover they can treat addiction, then we find out they can treat PTSD and depression and now this?

It’s exciting to watch as the world learns about the magic of these substances, and it’s even more exciting to entertain the idea of what they might discover about psychedelics next.