‘Magic mushroom’ migraine relief? Single dose of psilocybin shows significant impact in reducing intractable headaches

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Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Migraine treatments can be either preventive or abortive, and they range from prescription drugs, to over-the-counter medications like Advil Migraine, to home remedies like yoga or taking a hot shower.

Psychedelics are another sort of home remedy. For decades, anecdotal evidence has suggested that drugs like LSD and psilocybin may help prevent or alleviate migraines, possibly because they’re pharmacologically similar to migraine medications like dihydroergotamine, noted the researchers behind the new study.

To put that anecdotal evidence to the test, the researchers designed a placebo-controlled study in which they gave migraine sufferers a moderate dose of pure synthetic psilocybin. 

In the two weeks after taking the psilocybin, most participants did report significant decreases in migraines compared to baseline and the placebo session.

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Interestingly, these reductions weren’t correlated with how strongly the participants felt the psychedelic effects of psilocybin. That suggests migraine sufferers don’t need to take a large dose of psilocybin and therefore experience its intense and potentially unpleasant hallucinogenic effects to reap the benefits from it.

But perhaps most promising was that the therapeutic effects lasted at least two weeks after a single dose, differentiating psilocybin from other migraine medications that need to be taken regularly. 

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