The Use of LSD, Psilocybin, and Bromo-LSD for the Treatment of Cluster Headaches

Torsten Passie, MD

Abstract: In 1996, it was reported for the first time that psilocybin may provide relief from relentless pain resulting from cluster headaches. Chronic, severe cluster headaches are also referred to as “suicide headaches” since many patients are not able to cope with the severity of this painful condition. Information exchanged on the Internet between cluster headaches sufferers began to indicate that many were self-treating with hallucinogens. A systematic survey by researchers at Harvard Medical School also revealed that psilocybin and LSD may have preventative effects resulting in symptom-free periods lasting for weeks or months after taking the drug just two to five times. This lecture will provide an overview of the history and results obtained from studying the use of psilocybin and LSD within the context of cluster headache self-treatment. In addition, the most recent results from new trials with Bromo-LSD (BOL-148) will be presented along with an outline of the potential development of BOL-148 as a medicine for the treatment of cluster headaches.

Torsten Passie, MD, MA is Professor of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Hannover Medical School (Germany) where he serves as the Director of the Laboratory for Neurocognition and Consciousness. He is currently Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Passie also serves on the Board of Directors of the Swiss Physicians Society for Psycholytic Therapy (SAePT). Dr. Passie received his M.A. in philosophy and sociology from Leibniz University of Hannover, and his M.D. from Hannover Medical School. Dr. Passie has conducted extensive research on the psychophysiology of altered states of consciousness for more than 20 years, and is a leading European expert on the pharmacology and therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs. He has done clinical research with cannabinoids, ketamine, nitrous oxide, and psilocybin. His work has been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, Psychosomatic Medicine, Addiction, Neuropsychobiology, Addiction Biology, CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, and he is the author of Healing with Entactogens: Patient and Therapist Perspectives on MDMA-Assisted Group Psychotherapy, published by MAPS in 2012.

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