Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD

This qualitative interview study (n=53) assessed the efficacy of psilocybin and LSD to treat cluster headaches and found that a single dose was often sufficient to terminate a cluster period and that subhallucinogenic doses were also often reported to be effective treatments.


Introduction: Cluster headache, often considered the most painful of all types of headache,1 affects predominantly men (0.4% vs 0.08% of women) and typically begins after age 20 years. No medications are known to terminate cluster periods or extend remission periods. The effects of the ergot alkaloid derivative lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and the related indolalkylamine psilocybin on cluster headache have not previously been described and may include such properties.

Methods: The authors interviewed 53 cluster headache patients who had used psilocybin or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to treat their condition.

Results: 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.

Discussion: Research on the effects of psilocybin and LSD on cluster headache may be warranted.”

Authors: R. Andrew Sewell, John H. Halpern & Harrison G. Pop

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