Anyone who suffers from migraine headaches knows just how debilitating they can be but they should also know that they are not alone and that all-natural neuropathic help may be on the way.
The fact is that roughly 1 in 4 American households harbors a migraine sufferer as 39 million of us are afflicted with this life-altering disorder. Most of those who deal with migraine pain may face it a few days or so each month, but millions struggle with near-daily attacks known as chronic daily migraine, which can leave them literally unable to function for weeks out of each month.
With 1.2 million emergency room visits for acute migraine attacks every year in this country, doctors tend to prescribe a wide variety of pharmaceuticals – from blood pressure meds, to anti-depressants, to anti-seizure drugs, or even botox injections.
Their go-to ‘scripts are referred to as Triptans, which block pain pathways to the brain, but when all else fails they usually prescribe a dangerously addictive dose of opioids.
Most of these man-made medications, particularly those intended to be ‘preventative’, are meant to be taken daily and yet most come with incredibly dangerous side effects that more often than not discourage patients from sticking to a proper regimen. Some even admit that they can cause worse headaches, or turn mild migraine cases into severe or chronic cases.
On top of that, even the experts agree that those pill salads only work about half the time anyway.
This is just the way it has been for decades even though, as is usually the case, an all-natural solution may have been at our feet the entire time.
MUSHROOM vs MIGRAINE
We tell folks all the time that, when it comes to mental health, the psilocybin revolution is going to make the cannabis revolution look quaint in comparison, and 9 times out of 10 we get a sympathetic smile and nod as the person we are talking to tries to exit the discussion.
But as more people get tuned in to the therapeutic power of psilocybin, even in sub-psychedelic doses, we are beginning to see peer-reviewed, lab-grade research not only backing up many of the claims that advocates have been making, but then expanding on the potential medicinal value that these once-shunned substances may reveal.
This week we got word of a new placebo-based study, published in Neurotherapeutics, showing that a single relatively low dose of psilocybin proved to provide long-lasting relief for migraine patients.
Over the course of six weeks, a mix of male and female subjects were given either a placebo pill or a pill containing the ‘magic’ ingredient from specific mushroom species. Neither the subjects nor the testing staff knew which pill was which at the time of administration. All test subjects also kept a daily journal to log their pain levels and experience overall.
What researchers discovered was a far lower level of frequency of migraine attacks in the two weeks after the subjects consumed the psilocybin. They also reported lower pain levels if a migraine did occur in that time period, and also that they found themselves to be more functional than they were under the placebo.
“Psilocybin had a lasting effect on migraines, similar to the effect of taking a daily preventive medication, but psilocybin was only given a single time in this study,” explained Emmanuelle A. D. Schindler, an assistant professor of neurology at Yale School of Medicine, and co-author of the study.
Schindler continues, “There is no other oral treatment that can do this. Furthermore, the dose in this study was a low dose, only minimally psychedelic, and people did not have to have a strong (or any) psychedelic experience when they took the drug to have a reduction in their migraine burden over the next couple weeks. This suggests that the acute effects of the drug while it’s in your body are not related to the improvement in migraine in the following weeks.”
“There is no other oral treatment that can do this.”
Participants in the study underwent extensive preliminary screenings for mental and physical health prior to their inclusion, and all of the low doses of psilocybin were administered by a health care professional in a controlled setting.
“Under certain conditions, they can be safe, but this is not a group of compounds to be taken lightly,” Schindler says, adding, “Researchers in the field are obsessed with safety because we know the great potential for these drugs to serve as medicines and don’t want to see their reputation tainted by unsafe practices (personal or commercial). Psychedelics are just re-emerging from decades of misunderstanding, fear, and stigma, and it won’t take much for them to fall prey to those influences again.”
Considering that those most often affected by migraine headaches are between the ages of 18-44 years old, it seems that is a perfect age group for eligibility into some more studies, and eventually programs, like the one we are talking about here.
Last fall, voters in the state of Oregon approved state-sanctioned psilocybin therapy centers that, once a reality, could serve this very purpose and offer new hope to so many migraine sufferers.
Much like with cannabis, when you start making a list of all of the high-priced, high-risk pharmaceutical drugs that psilocybin could render useless, you begin to realize why these healing plants and fungi were vilified for so long.