Psilocybin study offers hope for chronic migraine sufferers

Budding research into the potential use of psilocybin, a psychedelic, to treat migraine disorders has returned positive results. The new study from Yale School of Medicine is the first of its kind to investigate this potential use for psilocybin using a double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over study. The results, though preliminary, are promising.

While the past several years have seen interest in the potential use of psilocybin to treat cluster headaches and migraines, the data is anecdotal in nature. This newly published study from Yale is different, involving a small trial in which some participants were given a placebo and others were given psilocybin.

A total of two sessions were performed, but first the participants spent two weeks keeping a 'headache diary,' a practice that was maintained until two weeks after the second session. The final analysis involved ten participants.

Compared to the participants who were given a placebo, the psilocybin group experienced a significant decrease in weekly migraine days after only the first session. The beneficial change was observed regardless of the psychedelic effects participants may have experienced from the drug.

As well, the study reports that none of the participants who were given psilocybin experienced 'unexpected or serious adverse events or withdrawals.' While the study is exploratory in nature and additional research is necessary, the researchers conclude that there may be 'an enduring therapeutic effect in migraine headache after a single administration of psilocybin.'