At least according to a new study published in the journal Neurology. Okay, maybe not good for you all-around, but they've been shown to be effective in treating a debilitating form of headache:
Cluster headaches are characterized by excruciating pain that lasts from fifteen minutes to up to three hours if left untreated. In the chronic form, attacks can happen up to eight times a day, with no period of remission lasting longer than a month. The condition is not fatal, but for some sufferers it is so horrific they commit suicide.
There is no cure, but sufferers are often given supplemental oxygen to ease an attack. Some are prescribed migraine drugs, but these may not work and the side effects are often extreme.
About five years ago, users of Internet message boards began swapping stories about chronic sufferers who gained two- to six-month periods of complete remission after one or two sub-hallucinogenic doses of LSD or psilocybin.
Sewell and John Halpern, both of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center, decided to investigate. They interviewed 53 cluster-headache sufferers around the world who had self-administered psychedelics in an attempt to alleviate their symptoms. Medical records were checked to verify that they did indeed suffer from cluster headaches.
Their results are startling: the majority (85%) of psilocybin users report that it aborted attacks — better than oxygen, which stopped attacks for 52% of the patients surveyed. LSD and psilocybin were both better at preventing future attacks than conventional medicines.
The good news is, these are sub-hallucinogenic doses of the drugs, meaning that the patients aren't taking enough to wig-out. The bad news is, these are sub-hallucinogenic doses of the drugs, meaning that the patients aren't taking enough to wig-out. You gotta take the good with the bad.