New research is removing the mystery surrounding fibromyalgia and starting to indicate that it is an inflammatory autoimmune condition. Incorporating psilocybin for fibromyalgia pain into your management plan can be a powerful tool. Neuroinflammation is extremely difficult to address, and psilocybin is one of the very few substances with the ability to lower it.
The fibromyalgia community has a history of being mistreated and gaslit by the medical community. Having the definitive proof that the condition is not only “real”, but also demonstrably visible on tests is a relief.
Unfortunately, knowing the enemy is not the end of the story. The inflammation associated with fibromyalgia is neuroinflammation, which is inaccessible to our current autoimmune treatments.
TNFa- The Target
Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and colitis are treated with medications that block the production of proteins which signal an inflammatory response. These proteins are called cytokines. They are the reason we have symptoms like swelling or redness which occurs when tissue is damaged or in response to an infection. There are many types of cytokines, but the main one to focus on here is called TNF.
A plethora of TNF blockers exist on the market in a class of medications called “biologics”. Unfortunately, none of them biologics can adequately address the TNF present in the case of neuroinflammation. They just do not cross the blood brain barrier. Therefore, they will work for inflammation in your ankle or colon, but they can’t reach the tissue in your brain.
The overproduction of TNFa in the brains of fibromyalgia patients is something that was demonstrated in this 2017 study. It is not new knowledge.
Psilocybin- A Multiprong Approach
Psilocybin crosses the blood brain barrier, and it has a powerful effect on TNFa. Research in this area has been severely stifled because of legal restrictions, but psychedelics like psilocybin could be the most powerful tools currently known to medical science against neuroinflammation. Even small amounts with insignificant psychoactive effects are enough to combat neuroinflammation. In fact, this could be the key to treating and preventing other neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and certain other forms of dementias.
Psilocybin also has a “reset” effect on your brain. It can help the system become less sensitized to pain. This effect generally occurs with the larger, more immersive dosing discussed in other articles on the website.
Treat The Cause, Not the Symptoms
Treatments for fibromyalgia focus mainly on treating the symptoms. They include a plethora of psychiatric medications, anticonvulsants, and opioids, most of which are ineffective. The fibro community is begging for an answer to the cause. Not a pointless, ineffective Band-Aid.
With autoimmune conditions, treating the cause becomes complicated. The medications used to control other autoimmune conditions like RA (rheumatoid arthritis) don’t necessarily treat the cause of RA. They just prevent your body from overproducing TNF and other cytokines, effectively blocking the inflammation. Arguably, it is better than allowing the inflammation to run rampant and just addressing the pain alone, but it is still not exactly the holy grail of “treating the cause”. We don’t know how to stop the body from attacking itself permanently, running interference is all we can do at this point.
Even without treating the true “cause”, many people with autoimmune conditions are living comfortably by taking TNF blocking medication. It is the best that science has to offer us at this point and currently falls short of addressing neuroinflammation. Therefore, psychedelics like psilocybin and ketamine offer the best hope for the time being.
Ketamine infusions can be a viable option for someone looking to take advantage of the anti-inflammatory effects of psychedelics. It does not have the same mechanism as psilocybin, but it is also capable of lowering TNFa in the brain. In fact, since it has been used in a clinical setting for this exact purpose, it may be a good idea to model the approach to psilocybin from the practices that are most effective with ketamine.
Ketamine infusions are expensive. Sometimes the significant pain relief only lasts a week or so after the infusion. Sometimes it lasts several months. Either way, psilocybin is a much safer and cheaper option that can be self-administered in the comfort of your home.
Microdosing Psilocybin for Fibromyalgia
Microdosing has its positive and negative points for anyone dealing with chronic pain. In the long run, microdosing may make an impact on neuroinflammation if the dose is high enough. But in the short run, it can be quite uncomfortable for many people. Microdosing psilocybin for fibromyalgia just does not have enough of an impact to obtain success with the “reset” function of psilocybin.
Without getting too technical, microdosing might just “mix things up” enough to make you uncomfortable without making your psyche flexible enough to make real improvements. For some people, the mood enhancement that often comes with microdosing can be enough to improve their pain. For others, the constant mild stimulant effect can just exacerbate pain and anxiety.
We can take a cue from the medical community that has the most experience with psychedelics use for chronic pain management: ketamine clinics. It is common knowledge that exacerbated pain after an infusion usually means that the dose was not high enough. It also takes several infusions in short succession to achieve optimum pain relief. With this in mind, it is not reasonable to assume that microdosing psilocybin would have a significant impact on chronic pain.
Microdosing does have an appropriate place, though. After you achieve acceptable pain relief, it can be part of a good maintenance plan.
Psilocybin In Practice
Psilocybin is an incredibly convenient option when compared to ketamine infusions. Using psilocybin for fibromyalgia can make managing this condition more affordable. It is pretty much free if you cultivate it yourself, unlike ketamine infusions which are several hundred dollars for each session. The pain relief in chronic pain situations does not necessarily last for a significant amount of time for many people. These people require repetitive use and the need for ketamine results in multiple visits and costs per year just to stay pain free.
Patients can self administer psilocybin orally and it does not require infusions. It has extremely low toxicity and repetitive use is not cost prohibitive.
The Downside of Psychedelics
The psychedelic experience is a wild ride, and it is easier for some than others. Some people don’t tolerate the psychedelic effects very well, while others are perfectly comfortable. In a clinical setting, some facilities do a better job than others by offering a quiet, dimly lit room. At home, it may be tough to find the right sitter.
The psychedelic community is difficult to navigate for a pain patient. Many people use these substances for spiritual or recreational purposes and are not familiar with the specific mechanisms related to pain management. It can be confusing.
The main focus for someone looking to take advantage of ketamine infusions or psilocybin should be to train yourself to manage the experience. Focus on staying calm and relaxed during the ketamine experience. Your ability to tolerate these sessions has a big impact on your ability to benefit from them, both in the case of ketamine and psilocybin. This becomes even more important with psilocybin. With different meditation techniques and redirection cues, you can be more sure that each session will be pleasant and manageable. Recreational and spiritual users don’t necessarily focus on this, even if they are aware of the possibility of directing their trip. The common knowledge in the psychedelic community is that you don’t necessarily have control over a trip at all. Assumptions like this can be damaging to a chronic pain patient, since learning to manage the experience is especially important to them.
Teaching management techniques, cues and approach is a large part of what Eleusinia offers our clients in a structured and safe setting. The fear of the unknown is preventing many from finding pain relief, and we do our absolute best to make it a comfortable experience. With the techniques taught at the retreat, we take the mystery out of using psilocybin for fibromyalgia.