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Preliminary Hallucinogenic Smells Experienced by Many Migraine Sufferers

People that experience usually have a level of sensitivity to know when one is coming on. Some feel a light bruising pain, some begin to be sensitive to light and still others experience a kind of visual aura or glow. Research has added a new symptom to the ranking of aura to include hallucinogenic scents.


A migraine heachache stands out on its own category. Every person seems to have a different group of symptoms but they are listed in some general categories. One of the least common that was reported was smelling scents that weren’t actually there. A major reason this was not considered a symptom is that it was rarely reported because the sufferer didn’t recognize that the scent was hallucinogenic.

According to Reuters Health, until now no one had accomplished any kind of systematic review of medical documentation on hallucinogenic scents as a precursor to a migraine. The olfactory area that controls smell was not considered as part of the aura or any other symptom. That data has now changed as people are including these as part of the migraine reporting

The symptom is distinctive but not as common as other migraine symptoms. Some people indicated that they smell wood smoke or burning, even burnt popcorn. A follow up scent can include the smell of sewage, garbage or a kind of decomposition scent. Others did report a more pleasant odor, including coffee or oranges.

Scientists are not really clear as to why these people experience such unusual odors. One of the theories is called cortical spreading depression. This is a phenomenon where there is an increased wave of electrical activity in brain nerve cells and then followed by a wave of depressed activity. The olfactory area may be affected by the same kind of wave, but since it is located in a smaller area, it is reported less often.

Sources: http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/migraine/news/2011/10/14/imagined_smells_can_precede_migraines.aspx

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.