Midlothian MP backs ‘magic mushrooms’ research

Friday March 22nd 2024

Owen Thompson Midlothian MP

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson has urged the UK Government to back research into the benefits of ‘magic mushrooms’ in tackling a “national crisis” caused by migraines.

Mr Thompson told a parliamentary debate on access to treatment for the debilitating condition that there was a “grim picture of neglect and stigma” around it.

And he warned the lack of treatment was creating a crisis with recent figures suggesting workers in the UK suffered 190,000 migraine attacks a day – the equivalent of 396 attacks a minute.

Mr Thompson told the debate that more support needed to be given to research into the use of psilocybin – a psychoactive ingredient found in mushrooms, commonly referred to as magic mushrooms.

He said: “There is a growing migraine crisis gripping the UK with serious shortcomings in access to treatment.

“The government’s reluctance to recognise psilocybin as an effective treatment for various psychological conditions including depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) echoes the wider lack of understanding plaguing migraine management.

“The UK Government seems unwilling or unable to listen to the research evidence.

“Despite overwhelming evidence of its effectiveness, archaic laws hinder medical studies into the use of psilocybin leaving sufferers to endure unnecessary trauma, pain and suffering.”

Mr Thompson recognised work introduced in Scotland where a national headache care pathway was introduced last year to improve standards of care in NHS Scotland.

But he warned Westminster had to be more proactive saying migraines were “not just headaches but a national crisis.”

The Migraine Trust’s latest report on the impact of the condition in the workplace revealed a third of sufferers felt harassed or victimised at work with one in five facing disciplinary action for it and nearly a half saying they were not believed when they took time off sick because of it.

It estimated migraines cost the economy in the UK £9.2billion a year with 98 per cent coming from lost productivity.

Mr Thompson said: “The Migraine Trust has exposed the stark reality: a severe shortage of specialised healthcare professionals, coupled with a widespread lack of understanding of the condition, exacerbates the suffering of millions across the UK.

“Migraines are not just headaches – they are a national crisis demanding immediate attention and action.”

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