Great news, I’m very excited about this! The amount of QALY left by the wayside due to the effective shut down of psychedelics research makes me cringe every time I think about it.
Will you eventually look into psychedelics for migraine as well? They are probably 1–2 orders of magnitude less painful than cluster headaches but also ~2 orders of magnitude more common. (Which could then also make it more difficult to achieve acceptance in the population/regulatory bodies, I suppose...). And as far as I remember, psilocybin/LSD worked for migraine as well.
Thanks! There is actually an RCT for psilocybin in migraines as well, being conducted by the same Yale researcher, Emmanuelle Schindler - results should even be presented this month, I believe. Migraine patient associations are larger and have more clout, so I expect positive results to get traction and make talk of psilocybin and other controlled substances more mainstream. Until now, migraine organisations and even one major cluster headache association (OUCH) tend to avoid talk of controlled substances.
Cool, thanks for the pointer, I’ll have a look for the study and hope that it kickstarts broader change.
Any explicit reason why migraine orgs and OUCH avoid the topic? Perhaps they fear that migraines are already viewed as “just a headache” and association with psychedelics would undermine the struggle for serious acceptance? Conformity signaling? Status quo bias? Low-openness staff? One person I know who is suffering from migraines is just very unenthusiastic about exploring treatment options despite ~10 days/month of substantial suffering, which always boggled my mind.
My guess is that it’s indeed mainly the stigma of illegal drugs and not wanting to lose credibility as an organisation by promoting alternative treatments from that category that haven’t been approved. Probably not status quo bias as there’s enthusiasm about new official treatments. Some cluster headache patients themselves may be reluctant to try illegal drugs, but desperation and the encouragement of other patients in the community reduce the psychological barriers.
So, results of the small-scale migraine study I mentioned above were actually published in June and showed a significant effect of psilocybin on migraines. “Preliminary Analysis of the Sustained Effects of a Single Low Oral Dose of Psilocybin in Migraine Headache”, https://headachejournal.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/head.13854 The results were also shown at a cluster headache conference I spoke at over the weekend: a single low dose of psilocybin cut migraine frequency in half. Pretty encouraging!