Investigation of the Use of Psilocybin and LSD for the Treatment of Cluster Headaches

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A cluster headache is a neurological condition that causes extremely painful headaches, similar to a severe migraine, and effects about 0.1% of the population. Due to the intensity of the pain caused by cluster headaches, many doctors consider it to be one of the most painful conditions in existence.

In 2006, the scientific journal Neurology published a report that investigated the use of LSD and psilocybin for the treatment of cluster headaches.

The authors of this report interviewed 53 people that had suffered from cluster headaches and used either psilocybin or LSD to treat their condition. The participants in this study were found by using an online survey. Although hundreds of people responded to this survey, the authors excluded those whose medical records could either not be obtained or did not reliably support a diagnosis of cluster headaches.

Psilocybin and LSD both reported to have an effect on cluster headaches. As the authors note, “Twenty-two of 26 psilocybin users reported that psilocybin aborted attacks; 25 of 48 psilocybin users and 7 of 8 LSD users reported cluster period termination; 18 of 19 psilocybin users and 4 of 5 LSD users reported remission period extension.”

Although these results are promising, they can only be considered preliminary because of the nature of this research. Controlled experiments are necessary for a more reliable understanding of the effectiveness of LSD and psilocybin for the treatment of cluster headaches.

Reference:

Sewell, R.A., Halpern, J.H. & Pope, H.G. (2006). Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD. Neurology, 66:1920-1922.

(The free full text is available at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.)

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