mushroom info

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Posted by Dennis O'C ( on February 20, 2000 at 16:49:05:

First let me say that that I am concerned about the indiscreet way that some of you are posting which may be drawing a target on yourselves for the law enforcement community to aim at. Unfortunately, I speak from experience. Be cool! That aside.
The mushroom/pschedelic connection has intrigued me also. There is a Doc in Montana, Dr Ethan Russo, that I contacted and made him aware of our site and our “research” into shrooms. Contained herein is the reply I received from Dr. Russo. He is a headache researcher engaged in the study of “other plants”. He has returned from the Amazon jungle with many promising species. But the frigging research bucks and federal laws are stifling him. He may be an interesting convention addition. Check him out at E-mail him at
Here is his reply:

Dear Dennis,
We are in a touchy area here, inasmuch as Psilocybe mushrooms are illegal in most countries. Their potencies vary. An untrained person can not know absolutely whether a given mushroom is the species they desire, let alone its potency. It might be a fine line between a dose that alleviates headache, and one that produces a blowout 4 hour psychedelic trip.
Obviously, I can not specifically recommend this treatment as something that you or anyone else should try.
With that caveat aside, my research of the last decade has revolved around the ethnobotanical treatment of migraine (and related cluster headache) with plants. An interesting pattern is seen extremely frequently: The same plants that are hallucinogenic (psychedelic/entheogenic) in high dosages are employed to treat headache at lower doses. Bizarre? Well, not really. I can
give many examples: cannabis, peyote (mescaline), several plants of the Machiguenga tribe (see 2nd and 3rd URL below), ergot alkaloids (that give us LSD, methysergide and others), and yes, Psilocybe mushrooms. All fit the pattern.
Back to your question, I have heard from various people that a small dose of mushrooms applied sublingually (under the tongue), knocks out migraine acutely. Some tribes in Mexico use small doses of peyote to treat headache also. For a time, in the late 19th century, there were medical journal reports of treating migraine with "Anhalonium" (Lophophora williamsii = peyote) tincture.
Why would this be? The postings I saw at the URL you recommended sound nice, but are inadvertently superficial. The real reason the mushrooms may work is neurochemical. The following article is dated to some degree, but provides the basic idea:

Peroutka, S.J., "Developments in 5-hydroxytryptamine Receptor Pharmacology
in Migraine", in Mathew, N. (Ed.), Headache, Neurologic Clinics of North
America 8:829-839, 1990.

It says that to treat migraine (and cluster) acutely, one desires a drug or plant that will stimulate serotonin type 1 (1A or 1D) receptors. To treat headaches preventively, one desires a drug or plant that will inhibit serotonin type 2A receptors (see 3rd URL). It may turn out that there are additional effects on NMDA receptors, but this will suffice for now.
Interestingly, these serotonin effects may be one of the key mechanisms of hallucinogenesis. All the examples I gave above fit this profile. The problem develops then, that we have available a very fertile area of research that could alleviate the suffering of many migraine and cluster patients. However, many such agents are Schedule I drugs, meaning that the DEA and US Government consider them prohibitively dangerous, and possessing
no recognized medical usage. The law is blind and biased. As a result, I have had shoestring funding of my theories, and have been unable after 3 years of effort to begin a clinical trial of cannabis in migraine treatment (1st URL).
Please feel free to share this posting, and URL's with your fellow patients. What is needed in this country is for groups like yours to rally politically so that work in this area can proceed to provide safe and effective treatments for cluster and other diseases.

Best wishes,
Ethan Russo, MD


WWW Site: "Plants of the Machiguenga"


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