Yale study suggests psilocybin can help treat migraines

Earlier this month, we published the results of a new study that found psilocybin therapy to be four times more effective than antidepressants for treating major depression disorders (MDD). Staying within the theme of psilocybin research, we have news about a first-of-its-kind exploratory study that has promising results regarding the effect of magic mushrooms on migraines.

As described in NewAtlas, the study comes from the Yale School of Medicine and offers the first double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study on the effects of a moderate psilocybin dose on migraine frequency and severity. What the researchers found was that a single dose of psychedelic psilocybin can reduce migraine frequency by 50 percent for a least two weeks. 

The study recruited ten migraine sufferers, all of whom completed two sessions with researchers, one with a placebo and one with a moderate psilocybin dose. Headache diaries were used to track headache frequency and severity in the two weeks leading up to, and following each experimental session. From this, the researchers could conclude that a single dose of psilocybin not only reduced migraine frequency in half but also reduced the actual pain intensity and functional impairment during migraine attacks by approximately 30 percent.

Although the research sample is small, the results are encouraging and will surely lead to further research. One particularly interesting finding from this small study was the lack of any correlation between the subjective strength of the psychedelic experience and the therapeutic effect. Prior studies had shown that the magnitude of a psychedelic experience seems to be fundamentally entwined with its therapeutic efficacy, but this study did not detect this association. This suggests that it may be possible to separate out the drug’s psychotropic effects from its therapeutic effects.

We must reiterate that this was a small study and that we can’t draw too many conclusions from it. That said, it’s incredibly exciting to see new research on the healing benefits of psilocybin being published, especially considering how research on psychedelic drugs was criminalized and labeled taboo in the decades before.

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