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    Psychedelics and chronic headaches 
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    Following is a digest of articles and reports that is constantly updated. Jump in!

    Could psilocybin or other seratonergic 5-HT agonists replace migraine medications like Rizatriptan?

    I used to have migraines that would not go away for a 5-7 days at a time, and would happen once every few months. I used to often get headaches that were not as painful as a migraine. In my particular case, the migraines I had were only ever in one side of my head, which the migraine would pick at random.

    For those of you who are unaware of what a migraine is, or have heard the term but are unsure of its true nature, lets take a peek into what a migraine is.

    Migraine Headache Symptoms, Relief, Auras, Types & Medications
    also details the nature of migraine headaches.

    What is a migraine headache?

    A lot of people use the term migraine to mean any kind of severe headache. A migraine is a the result of specific neurological changes within the brain. These changes lead to the pain felt with migraine headaches.

    Migraines are exacerbated by sound, light, sometimes smell. Nausea and vomiting are not uncommon. Sometimes migraines involve only one side of the head. Migraines can be described as throbbing and pounding headaches which are made worse by sensitivity to light and sound. The Migraine Research Foundation has written a illuminating piece here.

    In my personal experience, microdosing psychedelics of a particular kind keep migraines at bay, and like prescription medication, can even break the most painful migraines in a matter of hours. The cause of migraines is yet to be understood.

    Microdosing psychedelics (psilocybin and LSD)

    Sub-perceptual doses of psychedelics seem to keep migraines at bay.

    My father is a psychiatrist. Once when I had a migraine which lasted for a week. I asked my father for something which might help. He informed me of Rezatriptan. When I heard the name, something clicked in my mind. Triptan? Interesting. After taking the Rezatriptan, the migraine was gone in about an hour, never to return again, yet. This intrigued me so much so that I started to do a detailed analysis of the pharmacology of the drug and noticed something peculiar. The molecular structure of Rezatriptan is rather similar and almost identical to Serotonin, Psilocybin, Psilocin, DMT, LSD etc. (LSD contains the moiety of both Dopamine and Serotonin).

    More here: Microdosing Psychedelic Mushrooms and Migraines

    Migraine medications compared to psychedelics

    According to Wikipedia, Rizatriptan was sold as Maxalt, which is a 5-HT1 receptor agonist. Rizatriptan is an FDA-approved drug to treat migraines and cluster headaches.

    Psilocybin which is dephosphorylated to psilocin is a partial agonist for many serotonergic receptors. Psilocin is known to bind to 5-HT1A, 5-HT1D, and 5-HT2C.

    "Rizatriptan and Psilocin both agonize 5-HT1D at blood vessels and nerve endings in the brain." The molecular structure of Rizatriptan, Triptans (family), and psychedelic tryptamines is very similar.

    Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter which regulates many primary functions in the brain and gastric system. Serotonin is associated with mood regulation, sleeping, and digestive health. Serotonin is closely related to adequate functioning of the mind and body.

    Psilocin or 4-Hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine is the metabolite of Psilocybin (the active chemical in magic mushrooms). Psilocin is a seratonergic agonist and binds to 5HT receptors.

    Rizatriptan is said to work by narrowing blood vessels in the brain, stopping pain signals from being sent to the brain, and blocking the release of certain natural substances that cause pain, nausea, and other symptoms of migraine.?

    Here is a study published by the American Academy of Neurology about a Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD.

    The authors interviewed 53 cluster headache patients who had used psilocybin or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to treat their condition. Twenty-two of 26 psilocybin users reported that psilocybin aborted attacks; 25 of 48 psilocybin users and 7 of 8 LSD users reported cluster period termination; 18 of 19 psilocybin users and 4 of 5 LSD users reported remission period extension. Research on the effects of psilocybin and LSD on cluster headache may be warranted.


    I suffered from severe monthly migraines for over 20 years that often resulted in hospital visits. I consulted with my doctor to wean me off of my meds before taking ibogaine. My doctor was skeptical, but also willing to guide me through the process. Then came one of the most amazing experiences of my life. On the first day my headaches were severe, but I was helped to work through the deep-rooted issues causing them during the week. I was also taken to a place where I dealt with a lifetime of depression in a very short amount of time. Today, almost 10 years later, I'm off all medications and I've had only had 2 headaches. This is an amazing medicine that I highly recommend if you are willing to let go and do the work.



    LSD and cluster headaches

    by Reilly Capps

    Three years ago, when Patrick Hall was 49, he put a revolver to his head and pulled the trigger.

    Hall suffers from cluster headaches. They're also called "suicide headaches" because the elected death rate among sufferers is 20x the average. Trying to stay alive, Hall had tried virtually every legal medicine for the headaches including sumatriptan, lidocaine, verapamil, corticosteroids, lithium, morphine and others. Finally, he'd had enough.

    The gun, though, jammed. He slumped to the ground, overcome with grief, fear and shame.

    Today, Hall is alive, sitting at a table in a wing joint in a strip mall on the edge of Denver, where a bustling server delivers more chips and salsa, and a Rams football game plays on the TV overhead.

    As he tells the story of his suicide attempt, his eyes fill with tears. He hugs himself as his body shakes. He has a hard time getting the words out. What saved him? "This medicine," he says. And he pulls, from his inside jacket pocket, a blue glass vial full of a clear liquid that sloshes when shaken. He hands it across the table. "LSD," he says. "LSD really helps."

    Hall takes LSD about once every two or three months, putting on his tongue a standard dose of about 125 micrograms. It's given him his most pain-free year in the 31 years hes had the headaches.

    "A 2006 study shows that LSD and psilocybin breaks cluster headaches better than anything else. The next best treatment is a pharmaceutical, prednisone, which keeps cluster headaches away 45 percent of the time. LSD did so 88 percent of the time in the study."
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    Psychedelics as a last resort, a qualitative study of self-treatment of migraine and cluster headaches

    Martin Andersson, Mari Persson, Anette Kjellgren

    Treatment resistant cluster headache and migraine patients are exploring alternative treatments online. The aim of this study was to improve comprehension regarding the use of non-established or alternative pharmacological treatments used by sufferers of cluster headaches and migraines.

    A qualitative thematic analysis of the users’ own accounts presented in online forum discussions were conducted. The forum boards,, and met the inclusion criteria and were used for the study.

    The analysis resulted in six themes: 1) A desperate need for effective treatments; 2) The role of the forum; 3) Finding alternative treatments and community support; 4) Alternative treatment substances; 5) Dosage and regimens; and 6) Effects and treatment results; adverse effects. The results provide an insight into why, how, and by which substances and methods sufferers seek relief from cluster headache and migraines.

    These patients are in a desperate and vulnerable situation, and illicit psychoactive substances are often considered a last resort. There appeared to be little or no interest in psychoactive effects per se as these were rather tolerated or avoided by using sub-psychoactive doses. Primarily, psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide, and related psychedelic tryptamines were reportedly effective for both prophylactic and acute treatment of cluster headache and migraines. Treatment results with cannabis were more unpredictable. No severe adverse events were reported, but it was observed how desperation sometimes spurred risky behavior when obtaining and testing various treatment alternatives. The forum discourse mainly revolved around maximizing treatment results and minimizing potential harms.


    Migraine and cluster headache (CH) are prevailing, episodic, often chronic headache disorders that have a considerable impact on the individual and society. Especially, migraine with a prevalence of nearly 15% worldwide is a significant cause of disability and notably burdens medical costs and loss of productivity. Cluster headaches are a rarer but particularly painful and debilitating form of headache disorder with a prevalence around 1 in 1000 individuals. While there are numerous treatment practices for headache disorders, none areideal and most exhibits unsatisfactory effectiveness, tolerability, or patient adherence. There are presently no pharmacological treatments available specifically developed for CH. The currently used methods originated as treatments for other indications and were found helpful in CH by chance. CH is known to be sometimes resistant to the conventional therapies. Considering that CH is one of the most intense and disabling pain conditions known, the urgency of the circumstances has led care providers and patients to try unusual or experimental remedies. However, CH patients sometimes fail to respond also to the more experimental methods used in clinical practice.

    Dissatisfaction with conventional therapies and adverse effects can often motivate the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Also, the general interest in CAM has seen an upsurge over the past decades in both the USA and Europe. There is currently a growing interest and some evidence supporting various complementary or alternative medicine treatments of headache disorders. One controversial, but increasingly reported effective treatment is the use of illicit psychoactive (psychedelic) tryptamines like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin. A few studies, as well as extensive anecdotal support, have indicated the effectiveness of psychedelic tryptamines for the treatment of both CH and migraines. These substances are structurally similar (indole alkaloids) to the triptans currently prescribed for the treatment of CH. Even so, the prescribed non-psychoactive triptans do not abort cluster episodes or prolong remission periods as psilocybin or LSD reportedly does. Schindler et al. state that the combination of high efficiency and low rate of adverse effects observed with the psychedelic tryptamines is not seen in any of the currently used treatments. However, some reports on the non-psychoactive LSD analog BOL-148 have shown equally promising results for the treatment of cluster headache with similarly reported low rates of adverse effects. BOL-148 is currently not available for use in clinical practice.

    A few published studies and rich anecdotal supports also indicate the effectiveness of cannabis for alleviating headaches, but to our knowledge, no proper clinical trials are currently available. Historically, cannabis was well-regarded as an acute, as well as prophylactic, treatment for headache disorders and was included in the major pharmacopeias of the second half of the nineteenth century. The illegal status of cannabinoids and psychedelics has critically hindered medical research, and there are currently no blinded studies on headache patients so true effectiveness can be determined. To improve understanding of the effects and possible benefits or harms of scarcely researched substances, Internet discussion forums, and the users' own accounts of their experiences, have proven to be a valuable source for surprisingly accurate early research data when clinical trials are not available.

    Increasingly, the Internet serves as a primary source for information on personal health concerns. In the current digital landscape, patients and caregivers now have easy access to each other and Internet support groups (ISG) are formed around most medical conditions. Almost a quarter of those with long-term conditions reportedly uses the Internet to seek out peers. As the web transformed from the more static and hierarchical structures of the early days to the emergence of a co-creational social media environment, there is an ongoing shift from merely searching for health information to that of reciprocally producing and evaluating content. A corresponding municipally based knowledge production is observed in the recreational drug communities online. There is also a considerable overlap between the psychoactive drug discussions and the health communities online as psychoactive drugs sometimes are utilized as attempted self-medication. This overlap is present to a high degree amongst the headache disorder patient groups exploring alternative treatments online as these discussions commonly focus on medicating with various psychoactive substances. In line with our previous drug discussion studies, we applied a similar approach using thematic analysis of forum discussions by sufferers of headache disorders as a basis for the present study.

    The aim of this study was to improve comprehension regarding the use of non-established or alternative pharmacological treatments used by sufferers of cluster headaches and migraines.


    Self-treatment of headache disorders is discussed in support groups online. Largely, this interest focuses on the use of the currently illegal psychoactive tryptamines, mainly psilocybin, LSD, and related substances. Often, this pursuit is driven by desperation, and these substances are considered a last resort. It was reported how several of the substances used can serve as potential treatments for migraine and CH. However, this population exposes themselves to risk by self-experimenting with illegal or sometimes new and unknown psychoactive substances. Given the vulnerability of this population, their situation is important to note and to consider seriously. This study also highlights the importance of the reciprocal knowledge production process and harm reduction content emerging from interactive drug forum discussions. More scientific studies are needed to develop safe and effective drugs. To minimize harm and to cater to the needs of this patient group changes or exceptions in legislation and other ethical considerations can be a required measure.
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    Ketamine infusions cut migraine pain in half

    Researchers are studying the drug as a therapy for migraines that haven't responded to other treatments.

    Migraines are hell and researchers are looking into a new solution: Ketamine, the psychedelic-turned antidepressant, may also help alleviate the crippling headaches for people who otherwise don't respond to treatment.

    That's according to new research presented this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Boston. The study, conducted at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, involved 61 participants with migraines, the chronic throbbing or pulsing headaches that cause moderate to severe pain, and often include sensitivity to light and sound. Attacks can be debilitating, causing nausea and vomiting for some people.

    About 12 percent of Americans get migraines—they're three times more common in women than men. The study consisted of people whose migraines hadn't responded to other treatments; that's known as having "intractable" migraines. People were referred by headache physicians, or neurologists who specialize in treating headaches, between January 2014 and December 2016, says study co-author Eric Schwenk. "Occasionally some patients with migraines have heard about Ketamine therapy, and request to be given the treatment after talking to their headache physicians," says Schwenk, who's also director of orthopedic anesthesia at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

    If you are only familiar with Ketamine's reputation as a psychedelic, you might be surprised to hear that migraine patients are clamoring for it. Ketamine is a well-known, safe pain reliever at low doses and an anesthetic at higher doses. Meanwhile, evidence is growing about its value as a fast-acting antidepressant, offering benefits in minutes that other drugs require weeks to provide. There's a reason emergency room doctor and Tonic contributor Darragh O'Carroll called it "my favorite medicine."

    Because of Ketamine's potential as a migraine treatment, at least one sufferer flies to Los Angeles several times a year simply for some pain relief. At Jefferson, patients receive an intravenous infusion of Ketamine continuously for three to seven days under close supervision. "Those who have never had the drug before may undergo some other tests to establish a baseline," Schwenk says.

    Among the 61 patients included in the study, almost 75% saw an improvement in their migraine intensity. At admission, the average migraine headache pain rating was a self-reported 7.5 on a scale of 0 to 10. On leaving the hospital, the average pain rating was 3.4; less than half of the initial amount. Patients stayed 5 days, on average, and they experienced generally mild side effects including blurry vision and nausea and vomiting.

    "Our study focused only on short-term relief, but it is encouraging that this treatment might have the potential to help patients long-term,"
    Schwenk said in a statement. "Our work provides the basis for future prospective studies that involve larger numbers of patients." The current study is retrospective, collecting results from a number of previous individual cases rather than a prospective study, which would enroll subjects at the same time under controlled conditions.

    Richard Lipton, director of the Montefiore Headache Center at Albert Einstein College Of Medicine, echoed that sentiment. He told Tonic he's encouraged by the results. "As Ketamine is an approved drug, in expert hands, this treatment is an option for intractable patients," he says. "Future studies should more rigorously assess the short and long-term benefits of Ketamine using blinding and a placebo control groups." (e.g. there should be a group of patients who get an infusion of a placebo, and the researchers shouldn't know which group is which.)

    One question future research might address why some patients respond to Ketamine, while others don't—about a quarter in this study didn't respond. There's a clear division between the two, but, Schwenk says, "We have not been able to identify any factors that predict response yet."

    The hospital plans to open an infusion center which can treat more patients and further the research. Schwenk believes Ketamine may help with other painful chronic conditions, such as fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome. Schwenk and his colleagues are betting they've just begun to unlock the potential of Ketamine.
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    Psychedelics in Cluster Headache: Results of the Clusterbusters medication use survey

    Emmanuelle Schindler M.D., Ph.D., Christopher Gottschalk M.D., Marsha Weil, Robert Shapiro M.D., Douglas Wright D.C., Richard Andrew Sewell M.D.

    Cluster headache is one of the most debilitating pain syndromes. A significant number of patients are refractory to conventional therapies. The medication use survey sought to characterize the effects of both conventional and alternative medications used in cluster headache. Participants were recruited from cluster headache websites and headache clinics. The final analysis included responses from 496 participants. The survey was modeled after previously published surveys and was available online. Most responses were chosen from a list, though others were free-texted. Conventional abortive and preventative medications were identified and their efficacies agreed with those previously published. The indoleamine psychedelics, psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide, and lysergic acid amide, were comparable to or more efficacious than most conventional medications. These agents were also perceived to shorten/abort a cluster period and bring chronic cluster headache into remission more so than conventional medications. Furthermore, infrequent and non-psychedelic doses were reported to be efficacious. Findings provide additional evidence that several indoleamine psychedelics are rated as effective in treating cluster headache. These data reinforce the
    need for further investigation of the effects of these and related compounds in cluster headache under
    experimentally controlled settings.

    Cluster headache, often rated the most painful of all primary headache disorders, causes significant disability, with enormous personal, economic, and psychiatric burden. The term “suicide headache” reflects the extraordinary intensity and relentless nature of these attacks. In standard parlance, a cluster attack refers to the discrete paroxysm of pain—a unilateral stabbing that is primarily retro-orbital, lasting 15–180 minutes, occurring several times daily, usually at strikingly predictable times. A cluster period refers to the duration of time during which attacks occur regularly, ranging from weeks to years, often occurring at the same time each year. A remission period refers to a prolonged attack-free interval. In episodic cluster headache, periods are separated by months to years. In chronic cluster headache, the period lasts for over a year with no remission greater than one month. The etiology of cluster headache is incompletely understood. is a website founded by a so-called “clusterhead” who resolved to share the discovery that the psychedelic compound LSD, treated his cluster headaches. Clusterbusters, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Illinois dedicated to the education and research of cluster headache. LSD, psilocybin, and other alternative therapies are openly discussed on the website’s public message board. Recently published cases and results from an online survey support the ability of the indoleamine psychedelics, LSD and psilocybin, to abort attacks, induce remission, and prolong the duration of remission. No other single drug class has been reported to have all these clinical benefits.


    The Clusterbusters medication use survey further supports the efficacy of indoleamine psychedelics, such as
    psilocybin, LSD, and LSA, in the treatment of cluster headache. This survey considered effects beyond the cluster attack itself, including shortening/aborting a cluster period and transitioning from chronic to episodic cluster headache. Importantly, this survey also demonstrated that the indoleamine psychedelics effected clinical relief with modest and infrequent use. This work follows similar reports of safety and efficacy of these compounds in varying medical applications. A controlled study will be required to establish the effects of indoleamine psychedelics in cluster headache. Though these drugs are historically safe, the non-psychedelic BOL, which has demonstrated efficacy in cluster headache, would provide the opportunity to explore the effects of this unique pharmacologic class independent of hallucinogenesis.
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    Suicide headaches drive sufferers to try psychedelics

    by Martha Henriques

    The psychedelic drugs have a similar structure to medications used to treat cluster headache.

    Cluster headaches are so painful they have earned the nickname, suicide headaches. When the meds to alleviate this intense pain don't work, sufferers report using psychedelics instead to prevent the attacks.

    Many cluster headache sufferers, and some people who get severe migraines, report turning to LSD and psilocybin, the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms, out of desperation at a lack of effective treatment, a study in the Harm Reduction Journal finds.

    Up to 18% of the population suffer from migraines. A much smaller population, about 0.1 to 0.2% of people, suffer cluster headaches. These can both be debilitating conditions, leaving people entirely incapacitated during an attack.

    Cluster headache suffers say that a single attack can be more painful than childbirth. But cluster headaches are never just single attacks. They are linked to the body clock, or circadian rhythm, and happen at the same time of day, within minutes, several times a day. This happens for up to 8 weeks on end once or twice a year, at the same time of year. During one of these episodes, sufferers are often unable to go about their normal daily lives. Most say that it is worse than any other pain they experience.

    A lack of effective medication to treat and prevent these illnesses leaves sufferers as a "vulnerable and desperate" population, study author Anette Kjellgren of Karlstad University in Sweden told IBTimes UK.

    "There is still a great need for treatment for these conditions, since so many patients reported in the forum they have not got adequate help, and desperately searched for something that could possibly be useful," said Kjellgren.

    Not infrequently, these searches ended with illegal drugs. Kjellgren and her colleagues analysed reports on internet forums for discussing the conditions, to see how and why people used drugs like LSD and psilocybin to self-medicate.

    "The stories on the forum are often about total helplessness, thoughts of suicidal behaviour or anything just to get rid of the pain. So this can lead to risky behaviour, also untested novel psychoactive substances or internet drugs, which is mirroring their desperate need for help."

    Forum users with cluster headaches reported that "cluster pain is an order of magnitude worse" than breaking bones, while others said, "I came pretty close to ending my life over it." The use of psychedelics appeared to help many users, Kjellgren found.

    "It seems like these substances not only give relief during the attacks, they can also stop the vicious cycle of recurring episodes of cluster headache. We did not find so many indications for adverse effects either," she said.

    It appeared that the users were not drug romantic, she said, with no particular interest in discussing the psychoactive properties of the drugs. Other illegal substances such as cannabis were dismissed by users as triggering or worsening their headaches.

    "It was very clearly stated how much of the substance to ingest in order to avoid psychoactive effects and just get relief, Kjellgren said. It seems like the hallucinations are not essential for the drug to work for the headaches."

    "From a neurological perspective, this makes perfect sense," said Peter Goadsby, director of the NIHR-Wellcome Trust King's Clinical research Facility at Kings College London. "LSD and psilocybin are chemically very similar to medicines used to treat cluster headaches."

    "The fact that LSD or psilocybin have a useful effect for cluster headache doesnt surprise me in the slightest when you look at the structure. They're naturally occurring chemicals that look very much like the things we already use," said Goadsby.

    "The important thing here is that this is a desperate group of people. Mainstream medicine ought to be listening to what they're saying. This is a cry for help, and we need to invest time in finding better ways to treat people with these problems."
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    Citizen scientists using psilocybin to cure their headaches

    When Tyler Mann first started getting cluster headaches a little over a decade ago, he'd crawl into his bathroom, turn off the lights, shut the door, and scream as loud as he could for up to an hour until the pain went away. Sometimes he'd pass out before that happened. Other times he'd contemplate suicide.

    "I've had headaches where I was literally considering hanging myself from the shower rod," Mann told me. "Literally, I wanted to just wrap a belt around my neck and make it stop, several times. That's why I don't own a gun."

    In the beginning, he'd get the headaches as often as six times per day, for months at a time. His doctors offered no explanation. So, like many people with more symptoms than solutions, he turned to the internet for help. That's when he discovered a Facebook group where thousands of others said they suffered from the same condition, a little-known neurological disease called cluster headaches, for which there is very little research and no known cure. They referred to themselves as "clusterheads," and each was more desperate for relief than the next. Many of them, frustrated with the lack of clinical studies, had turned to extreme methods of treatment.

    According to users of the group, one thing seemed to consistently provide long-term relief: psychedelics like mushrooms, LSD, and DMT, all of which consist of Tryptamine, an alkaloid that is believed to activate serotonin receptors in the brain. The most obvious problem, though, is that all of these drugs are illegal in the United State, scheduled in the same high-risk category as heroin, which means they are far from medically proven, and the self-administered dosing and its results can be wildly inconsistent. For people like Mann, who describes this form of self-medication as "citizen science," the risk is worth it if it means not having to endure debilitating pain and suicidal thoughts on a regular basis.

    "We're basically experimenting on ourselves," said Mann, an Austin-based filmmaker who's worked as a camera operator on shows like CNN's High Profits and TLC's My 600-lb Life. "We are using ourselves as guinea pigs because we don't have any other options. We can either just live in pain or we can try and fix it ourselves."

    Since he started taking psychedelic mushrooms as medicine about three years ago, Mann, now 37, says the cluster headaches have all but come to a halt, occurring something like every year and a half as opposed to multiple times a day. He calls mushrooms a "wonder drug." And yes, even though he's technically ingesting them in the name of science, he still hallucinates every time. "Oh, I trip balls," he said. "You get used to it. It's just like taking a pill."

    Of course, not every cluster headache sufferer wants to break the law or trip balls just to get some relief, and not everyone believes psychedelics will be beneficial to them. The absolute dearth of reliable treatment options is part of the reason Mann has decided to make a documentary about what it's really like to suffer from cluster headaches. He hopes the project, dubbed Clusterheads and funded largely using donations from sufferers, will draw more attention to the condition and ultimately help sway the US government to invest more money and resources into studying it.

    Cluster headaches, named for their occurrence in cycles or groups, were first documented in the 18th Century. In a scientific paper, the Dutch-Austrian physician Gerard van Swieten described a middle-aged patient who suffered from the condition every day at the same hour as feeling "as if his eye was protruding from its orbit with so much pain that he became mad."

    The British neurologist Wilfred Harris is credited with publishing the first complete medical description of cluster headaches in 1926. In it, he observed that the attacks could last for anywhere between ten minutes and several hours and might strike patients at the same time every day, recurring for weeks and then disappearing for months at a time (these are now referred to as episodic) or in some cases, every day for years on end (now called chronic). The pain, he wrote, was "likened to a knife being driven in through a point between the outer canthus of the eye and the hair line," far more intense and debilitating than even the most serious migraine.

    "Some people say it's like an ice pick going through their eyeball, Mann told me. But for him, he said, it's more like somebody drilling into my skull through my temple and scraping around in the inside of my skull and the back of my eye."

    The number of people who suffer from cluster headaches is still relatively unknown. The World Health Organization estimates that cluster headaches affect fewer than one in 1,000 adults, often developing after the age of 20 and occurring disproportionately among men. That's roughly in line with a commentary published in the Journal of Neurology & Stroke in 2015 estimating that 400,000 people in the US and 7 million people worldwide were sufferers.

    Still, those numbers are likely underreported since it's not uncommon for patients like Mann to go years without a confirmed medical diagnosis. "There are thousands of other people who are just like me who have this condition who don't know what it is, Mann said. Some of them have probably committed suicide because of it. They just didn't know what it was and were living in pain and didn't know how to treat it."

    For all the pain and suffering that comes along with it, cluster headaches remain largely a mystery to the medical community today. Doctors still don't know exactly what causes it or why, and supposedly preventive measures such as deep brain stimulation, or surgically implanting a pacemaker in the brain remain experimental at best and expensive and ineffective at worst.

    Meanwhile, treatments like oxygen therapy, which are believed to abort the headaches essentially by inducing hyperventilation through an oxygen mask, are only short-term remedies. Plus, they can be costly, Mann says, with few if any insurance companies covering it specifically as a treatment for cluster headaches.

    "Getting mushrooms is actually easier than getting oxygen, believe it or not," he said.

    But it doesn't have to be that way. In the last several years, grassroots groups like ClusterBusters, a nonprofit that was started in the early 2000s by sufferer Bob Wold after he discovered hallucinogens had helped his cluster headaches, have joined an annual advocacy event called Headache on the Hill. At the event at the US Capitol next month, the so-called cluster headache sufferers will meet with members of Congress to lobby for more research and funding through the National Institutes of Health, which they believe has long overlooked cluster headaches as a serious nerve condition.

    Part of the problem is that, "It's not a public-facing disease, Mann explained. It's very much in the closet." Even the name of it is particularly misleading, or at least extremely understated. "If a regular headache caused by a hangover or allergies is like getting a paper cut on your finger," he says, then "a cluster headache is like sawing your arm off with a rusty saw with no anesthesia."

    So far, progress has been slow. Sufferers like Mann expect an uphill battle with the Trump administration, which may seek to roll back marijuana legalization at a time when scientists are finally started to study the medicinal benefits of hallucinogenic drugs. But there are small victories worth celebrating: A landmark 2006 Harvard University study, for example, showing that LSD and psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in mushrooms, had benefited sufferers of cluster headaches. The study of 53 patients, which Clusterbusters took credit for as a result of their lobbying, found that 22 of 26 psilocybin users reported that the drug had aborted their headache attacks.

    "It's life changing, honestly," said Mann. "Without the psychedelics, I don't even know if I would still be here on this Earth, and I have the people in ClusterBusters and the Facebook support group to thank for that."

    As they push to be taken seriously, clusterheads all over the world have banded together like a ragtag group of skull-rattling outsiders, sometimes with no else to rely on but each other and their own amateur insights. In Facebook groups, on message boards, and at an annual conference, they share their own stories of pain, experimentation, and recovery, one mushroom trip at a time.
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    Chronic sufferers choosing LSD and psilocybin for migraines

    I remember the day I got my first migraine pretty vividly. I was a freshman in high school sitting in math class, when all of a sudden, my vision became blurry. I soon felt shaky, nauseous, incredibly confused, and frightened by what was happening to me. But in the hour or two it took to see a doctor, my symptoms had disappeared.

    Migraine hallucinations and pain

    Eventually, I realized I had experienced my first migraine, and since then I suffer through a few every year. While they’re pretty debilitating and can ruin an entire day, I’m lucky I don’t suffer from chronic migraines like some do.

    In the U.S. it’s estimated that roughly 3.2 million Americans live with chronic migraines and of that percentage, some experience 15 to 20 a month. These headaches last four hours or more on average, and often force sufferers to take days off work. This adds up to not only lost hours of their lives, but lost productivity and money. In fact, it’s estimated up to $31 billion in productivity is lost annually from headache disabilities in the U.S. alone.

    I can tell when a migraine is coming on because of a chain of predictable symptoms. First, I begin to see auras and my vision is blurred, then all symptoms subside like the calm before a storm, and finally the piercing headache, nausea, vomiting, and shakiness.

    Hallucinations and bizarre visuals often accompany or signal to migraine sufferers they’re about to endure a headache. The most common visual oddities are blurriness and auras, but some experience zigzags, swirling vortices, and Picasso-esque patterns. Physical hallucinations aren’t unusual either.

    During his first migraine, author, Anthony Peake, says, “I felt that the top of my head was lifting off and moving upwards toward the ceiling. Then I noticed the office seemed to be getting smaller, as if I was looking at it from the wrong end of a telescope.”

    Only about 15 to 20 percent of migraine sufferers experience migraines with auras. These migraines can be so disorienting and confusing, sometimes rendering sufferers unable to communicate properly, almost like a stroke. But despite the well-documented symptoms and prevalence of these painful experiences, doctors still don’t know what causes them exactly.

    Headache disorders are ranked 7th in all disabilities globally, though only 36 percent of sufferers are diagnosed. And migraines aren’t even the worst type of debilitating headache – that title is reserved for cluster headaches.

    Cluster headaches have been described as one of the worst pains a human being can feel, worse than childbirth, or as one sufferer put it, worse than having a limb amputated without anesthesia. Cluster headaches have been nicknamed the suicide headache for reasons that can probably be inferred.

    These two types of headaches tend to occur in one gender more than the other, with migraines choosing women, and cluster headaches more often reserved for men. Some attribute this to hormonal functions, but no one really knows for certain.

    Specific things activate migraines, including caffeine, lack of sleep, alcohol, weather fluctuations, and stress. Cluster headaches, on the other hand, seem to fall into episodic cycles, and contrary to migraines, sleeping can actually trigger them. Sufferers often get cluster headaches as they’re entering REM sleep, leading them to fear bedtime.

    LSD and psilocybin for migraines

    Sometime in 2015, well over a decade after my headaches began, I was at a friend’s house when I felt the early signs of an oncoming migraine. I alerted my buddies to what would happen and the protocol I typically followed to deal with the next few hours of pain.

    My friend Sean said he wanted to make me something that might help my symptoms. So he whipped out his mortar and pestle and began making me a chunky paste, while I laid on the couch, preparing for the impending agony. After a few minutes, he came back with the paste and a glass of water, telling me to consume the strange concoction.

    I asked what was in it and he replied, “Some honey, various herbs, and some (magic) mushrooms. Not enough to make you trip, just a micro-dose, but there’s a chance you might feel a body high. It will definitely help your symptoms, though.”

    Now, full disclosure, I had taken psilocybin before, so I was familiar with its effects, but the idea of a potential psychedelic trip while suffering from a mind-numbing headache sounded like a horrible idea. But I trusted Sean and took the mushroom mixture.

    For chronic headache sufferers, there are a number of pharmaceuticals prescribed to mitigate their symptoms and lead a semi-normal life. Triptans are one of the most commonly prescribed, often paired with an NSAID, i.e. aspirin or ibuprofen. But these drugs are not a panacea and only provide temporary relief.

    Triptans are referred to as selective serotonin receptor agonists, stimulating serotonin production in the brain. This serotonin increase reduces inflammation and constricts blood vessels to alleviate the headache. Triptans belong to the tryptamine family of monoamine alkaloids. Coincidentally, the psychoactive compounds found in many psychedelics are also tryptamines.

    Psilocybin converts to psilocin in the body, becoming a partial agonist for serotonin receptors known as 5-HT receptors, particularly the 5-HT(2b) and 5-HT(2a) receptors. Psilocybin and other tryptamines, including DMT and LSD, are referred to as serotonergic psychedelics because they activate these serotonin receptors. Triptans work as agonists on serotonin receptors in the same way, but instead stimulate 5-HT(1b) and 5-HT(1d) receptors.

    For reasons not fully understood, the receptors that psilocybin and LSD target produce a psychedelic experience, while the receptors the triptans target do not. However, when both receptors are targeted, the psychedelic experience can be amplified immensely, but not in a pleasant way.

    Unsurprisingly, another pharmaceutical used in the past to treat migraines, due to its affinity for those 5-HT receptors, is ergotamine, a peptide derived from ergot fungus, first isolated by Arthur Stoll at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in 1918. Stoll worked alongside Albert Hoffman, the famous chemist who first synthesized LSD at Sandoz from, you guessed it, ergotamine.

    When Hoffman accidentally synthesized LSD he had also worked to isolate psilocybin from the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana. Sandoz sold psilocybin to clinicians using it for psychotherapy, before the drug was criminalized in 1968. It’s believed that Hoffman was actually working on synthesizing new medicines to treat headaches, which he may have apparently found, though the hype from his discovery’s psychedelic properties completely overshadowed any other use for it.

    After Sean gave me the micro-dose of magic mushrooms, my headache began to play out as expected. My liver had to first process the psilocybin, convert it to psilocin, and release a number of metabolites into my bloodstream; a process that usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. But after that time had passed, it felt like I had skipped the worst part of my headache and was coasting through the dull afterglow that marks the latter stage of my migraines. I also felt a little woozy – the feeling I knew the mushrooms were responsible for.

    It seemed Sean’s magic mushroom remedy worked. It didn’t stop the headache dead in its tracks, but it did mitigate the pain significantly and shorten the span of it. Now, had I been working
    at the time, the subtle psychoactive effects of the psilocybin may have been distracting, but with a full-blown migraine, no work would have been accomplished anyway.

    Cluster Busters; Using psychedelics for headaches

    Triptans, steroids, and other pharmaceuticals prescribed to treat chronic bouts can have long-term side effects ranging from organ fibrosis, cardiac disturbances, and even osteoporosis. And while triptans are good for alleviating individual headaches, chronic sufferers have found that psychedelic serotonergics can break or even prevent the episodic cycles of headaches that recur on a predictable basis.

    Those unfortunate enough to suffer from cluster headaches experience as many as eight to 10 a day during cycles. Though they don’t suffer year-round, cycles typically last anywhere from two to three-months, with each headache lasting anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours.

    Bob Wold is the founder and president of Cluster Busters, a group that has, for the past 15 years, advocated for the study and legal use of psilocybin and LSD for treatment of cluster headaches. Wold began suffering from them biannually for a period of 20 years after being misdiagnosed many times. He was ineffectually prescribed 75 different medications, including the highly addictive fentanyl and even cocaine drops.

    Wold was so desperate to ease the pain that he almost underwent an invasive, unproven surgery that would have severed his trigeminal nerves and destroyed all sensation in his face. That was, until he found an online forum touting the benefits of serotonergic psychedelics for treating his condition.

    Wold said he asked his two kids, who happened to be in college, to procure him the necessary psilocybin-containing mushrooms to see if they could ameliorate his agonizing pain. While he doesn’t condone buying psilocybin mushrooms off the street, as acquiring them is illegal and hard to determine exact dosage, Wold was in a desperate state and willing to take risks.

    Shortly after using the drug to treat his headaches, Wold noticed an immediate difference, saying his head hadn’t felt that good in the 20 years since his condition began. From then on, he used the drug as both an analgesic and a preventative measure, spreading the word to fellow sufferers as often as possible.

    Cluster Busters says it believes the key difference between triptans and serotonergic psychedelics is that the receptor targeted by the latter acts as a vasoconstrictor, preventing attacks
    by keeping the carotid artery from expanding and pressing on the trigeminal nerves.

    Unfortunately, taboos and legal constrictions have made it hard to gauge doses and procure these drugs safely for chronic headache sufferers, but recent persistence and overwhelming anecdotal evidence from Cluster Busters has led to legally approved trials of the drugs for treatment of severe chronic headaches.

    Researchers like Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. John Halpern, decided to look more closely into the stories being reported from Cluster Busters and conduct a study of his own. After interviewing 53 subjects who used a serotonergic psychedelic to treat cluster headaches, he found that 95 percent successfully delayed or completely avoided headaches. This led Halpern to set up future double-blind studies with control groups to properly test results.

    Much like the dose I received from Sean to treat my migraine, the doses used by most cluster headache sufferers are micro-doses, or non-psychedelic doses. Even the slightly larger, preventative doses Wold takes a few times a year , he says, are roughly tantamount to a buzz from a few glasses of wine – enough to make lights look slightly more vivid.

    Another strong proponent who deserves mention for use of psychedelics to treat chronic headaches is Graham Hancock. Hancock says at one point he was suffering from up to 20 severe migraines a month, before he took Ayahuasca and Iboga in shamanic ceremonies.

    Ayauhasca is an Amazonian brew containing DMT, another serotonergic psychedelic found in many plants. Today, after suffering from chronic headaches his entire life, Hancock no longer suffers from them at all, and has vowed to take Ayahuasca two to three times a year to prevent them, and for the spiritual experience it provides.

    Of course, one should tread with caution when considering these drugs for treatment. Wold says it’s important to consult a doctor to ensure these psychoactive substances won’t react adversely with any other medications one might be on, and to assure that one is healthy enough to take them.

    With any luck, further research into serotonergic psychedelics can help relieve the pain for victims of chronic headaches and eliminate the unwarranted stigma placed on a natural substance with medicinal value. For more information visit the Cluster Busters website or MAPS – another group that continues to achieve funding and legal permission to advance clinical trials studying the healing potential of psychotropic drugs.
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    Ketamine may help treat migraine pain unresponsive to other therapies

    Ketamine, a medication commonly used for pain relief and increasingly used for depression, may alleviate migraine pain in patients who have not been helped by other treatments,
    suggests a study being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2017 annual meeting.

    The study of 61 patients found that almost 75 percent experienced an improvement in their migraine intensity after a 3 to 7 day course of inpatient treatment with ketamine. The drug
    is used to induce general anesthesia but also provides powerful pain control for patients with many painful conditions in lower doses than its anesthetic use.

    “Ketamine may hold promise as a treatment for migraine headaches in patients for whom other treatments have failed,” said study co-author Eric Schwenk, M.D., director of orthopedic anesthesia at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. “Our study focused only on short-term relief, but it is encouraging that this treatment might have the potential to help patients long-term. Our work provides the basis for future, prospective studies that involve larger numbers of patients.”

    An estimated 12 percent of the U.S. population suffers from migraines – recurring attacks of throbbing or pulsing moderate to severe pain. A subset of these patients, along with those who suffer from other types of headaches, do not respond to treatment. People with migraines are often very sensitive to light, sound and may become nauseated or vomit. Migraines are three times more common in women than in men.

    Researchers reviewed data for patients who received ketamine infusions for intractable migraine headaches – migraines that have failed all other therapies. On a scale of 0-10, the average migraine headache pain rating at admission was 7.5, compared with 3.4 on discharge. The average length of infusion was 5.1 days, and the day of lowest pain ratings was day 4. Adverse effects were generally mild.

    Dr. Schwenk said while his hospital uses ketamine to treat migraines, the treatment is not widely available. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital will open a new infusion center this fall that will treat more patients with headaches using ketamine. “We hope to expand its use to both more patients and more conditions in the future,” he said.

    “Due to the retrospective nature of the study, we cannot definitively say that ketamine is entirely responsible for the pain relief, but we have provided a basis for additional larger studies to be undertaken,” Dr. Schwenk added.
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    Psychedelic mushrooms cured my cluster headaches

    It’s 5:30 in the morning on a Friday, and I’m rolling a massive joint with one eye open. On my desk is a fresh cup of green tea with two tea bags, and tossed onto the bed is my phone with several Safari pages open to the term cluster headache. I am in a manic tailspin of despair. Pretty soon, the headache will take the vision in my right eye. (It’s already seized my left.) Soon after that, I’ll be utterly crippled. I focus intently on rolling the joint.

    When the task is complete, I do several things in swift succession. I grab the tea bags and press out the remaining hot liquid. I lie flat on my back and swing one tea bag onto each of my closed eyelids. Trying hard not to shift them, I take the rolled joint to my lips, light it blind, and take tiny little puffs.

    By now it is 5:45 a.m., I am smoking a joint in my underwear as the sun comes up, and I have two bags of hot tea weeping onto my closed eyes. All I can think about is the agony in my head. For what must be the hundredth time this month, I am acutely aware of how unhinged I’ve become.

    Three or four hits of the joint later, I stub it out on my desk. It has done nothing, and the taste of the weed is making my nausea worse. I remove the bags, hoping they’ve made my eyes less puffy. I’ve cried every day for the past three weeks. Even for a particularly emotional person, this is too much. I look battered.

    I keep my eyes closed, cry some more, consider suicide, twist and turn, press my hands to my forehead with such intensity that I worry I’ll crush my own skull, and eventually, finally, I fall asleep. I wake up two hours later to my alarm demanding that I get ready for work.

    I have never felt more exhausted and powerless. And I know tomorrow I’ll go through it all again.


    If your right arm goes numb, some Googling will probably lead you to believe that you’re having a stroke. If you are having shortness of breath, the internet medical community will tell you you’re dying. Misdiagnosis is a common consequence of haphazardly looking up symptoms of illnesses, but occasionally this practice can save people’s lives, or at least greatly reduce pain. When there is no hope to be found in professionals, online forums written by people who have visited your own private hell are sometimes all you have.

    I endured a decade with debilitating headaches, and it wasn’t until this year, when the situation had gotten dire, that I started researching what I felt were disparate symptoms. Inevitably, I began to find things like this:

    The headaches come in cycles, sometime multiple times a day, and an attack can last for up to 90 minutes. It’s debilitating to the point where cluster headache patients cannot function normally in society — how do you tell your boss you need to take an hour off while you suffer through excruciating pain? Modern medications — opiates, steroids to neuro-implants — are, at best, minimally effective. There is no known cure. According to a report published by MAPS, the suicide rate for those with the disease is 20 times the national average.

    And this:

    I'm a 26 year old male and I've been suffering from this evil condition for 13 years, and I just have to say it is such a relief just to find other people who know about it. I thought I was cursed or something for the longest time. Nobody else in my life understands. I can almost hear peoples judgments when I’m having an episode and can’t function, and all I can say is “sorry, I have a headache.” It just doesn’t cover it. Thank you for spreading awareness and being supportive.

    Jerry Callison, a lifelong sufferer of what I learned were called cluster headaches, told me on the phone that when his daughter was near 6 years old, she drew a picture of him crying in his La-Z-Boy while she drew herself crying in a corner behind him. “[Cluster headaches have] broken up families, relationships, and marriages because the partner just didn’t want to go through the drama and everything that goes with it.” He continued: “One of the biggest things that cluster [sufferers] go through is the feeling of being alone. We just feel like we’re the only ones.”

    Because only one in 1,000 people suffers from cluster headaches, the forums and sites to which cluster patients post are an incredibly close-knit and supportive group of people. When I reached out to users on a particular CH forum for help with this story, I was flooded with emails. I spoke on the phone with an older man who had been suffering from CH for over 20 years. He explained with resignation that cluster headaches “literally make it impossible to live your daily life.”

    The forums and message boards and blog posts described what I was going through to such a precise degree that I felt like I’d found a second family. My doctors, who had historically told me that I suffered from regular migraines or headaches connected with my menstrual cycle (at one point I was told they would be more or less cured by taking birth control), had misled me. This wasn’t necessarily their fault, given the short bursts of time the cluster headaches lasted — two- to three-month periods. But the severity was so intense that there had to be something I was missing. There had to be a rock I’d left unturned.

    Many refer to cluster headaches as suicide headaches, and I was starting to feel like I was running out of time to cure mine. But then, with the help of one of these specific forums, I found the miracle drug.


    In 2006, the medical journal Neurology published a study titled “Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD,” wherein 53 cluster-sufferers were interviewed about the use of “magic mushrooms” and LSD to treat or eradicate their illness. Over 50% of the subjects studied revealed that one dose of psychedelics caused total cessation of their headaches, while about a quarter said that the drug aborted a headache mid-attack. Though the study examines only a very small population of cluster-sufferers, its results are matched and furthered all over the internet in personal testimonies. Researching the efficacy of psilocybin treatment for cluster headaches is impossible in the United States because of its Schedule I status, but that doesn’t mean sufferers can’t stage their own investigations.

    One of the best forums on the web for cluster-headache sufferers — especially those who are interested in using psilocybin as a treatment — is Cluster Busters. Founded by Bob Wold, a self-described “cluster head,” CB is a nonprofit organization that provides resources on the use of psilocybin as a method to cure or treat cluster headaches, a.k.a. “busting.” The forums require a username to log in, but once there, you’ll find an entire world of people who have been helped by mushrooms. One contributor wrote that he has been taking a preventative dose every 60 days for over four years now, and he’s spent “the vast majority of the last four years completely pain-free.”

    People visit Cluster Busters with questions about growing mushrooms, how to properly dose themselves, alternative treatments outside of psilocybin, and pleas for support during their cycles. When you’re deep into certain threads, it can be difficult to grapple with the fact that this alternative treatment has worked for so many people, yet so little can be done to study it.

    Researchers believe that cluster headaches originate in the hypothalamus (the part of the brain associated with our circadian clock), and when a sufferer is dosed with mushrooms, the active psilocybin manages to slow blood flow to the area, preventing the onset of a cluster attack. But for obvious reasons, all that doctors can do is suggest this treatment, and then in the meantime prescribe pills that might not have much effect.

    Around the time of my cycle this year, the one that nearly drove me to suicide, I spoke on the phone with Dr. Jason Rosenberg, the director of the Johns Hopkins Headache Center, about how he treats patients who come to see him with cluster-headache symptoms.

    “I’ve not had any of my own patients attempt to commit suicide, but the very first question when I’m dealing with a cluster patient is to ask if they have a gun at home, is the gun locked up, who has the key, do they have a safety, is it registered with bullets in it,” he told me. “People do stupid things during their cluster headaches; they may not actually mean to kill themselves, but they just want the pain to stop.”

    One of the biggest problems with CH, Rosenberg explained, is that so many people are misdiagnosed and given medication that would never work on a cluster. I’d been put on everything from Imitrex to Topamax to — during a particularly tough period — Vicodin, just to take the edge off what was going on behind my eyes. “I think the most important thing for patients to do is find a headache subspecialist rather than a general neurologist and get on one of the cluster headache websites, and in a day they will know more than most general neurologists,” Dr. Rosenberg said.

    Would he tell a patient that there’s a chance magic mushrooms could help them? Is that even allowed? Yes and no. “When I first see a patient, I give them the range of options,” he explained to me. “I say, ‘Look, here are the standard options. They sometimes work great, they sometimes don’t.’ If those don’t work, I say that here are some trials going on, that some patients are resorting to hallucinogens, and that some of them do well and some don’t. That’s basically all I can say.” In one of the crazier things I’d heard about cluster headaches since I began my trip down the rabbit hole, Dr. Rosenberg explained that right after the collapse of Silk Road, the former online black market for illegal drugs, he had an influx of his patients desperately trying to reach him to be put on other, legal medications that were not, he presumes, coming from the dark net.

    Those other medications do exist. Many sufferers are helped by hooking themselves up to oxygen tanks during attacks; others have found steroids can be effective. There is never enough funding put into rare diseases to provide a range of potential treatments, Dr. Rosenberg told me, but there are a few trials that are picking up momentum. One option sounds eerily like medicine of the future: “For chronic cluster, a small little gizmo gets implanted under your gum to a wire that goes up to a cluster of nerves behind the nose, and during a cluster headache, you can hold this little remote-control gadget up to your face and that will turn off the cluster headache,” Rosenberg explained. “The initial results look like if you do that repeatedly you end up with fewer headaches over time, so not only will it treat individual headaches, but it will reduce the number of headaches you end up getting.”
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    Yes, migraines and cluster headaches can be treated with psychedelics, but you would want to make sure they were actually migraines or cluster headaches, first.

    Typically, people go to a doctor and are diagnosed as having migraines or cluster headaches. By then, they are usually fed up, and that leads them to alternative methods like psychedelics.

    Here are all of my sources:

    BiG StroOnZ (BL)


    Psychedelics and cluster headache

    Cluster headaches is an incredibly painful neurological disorder which is also often called suicide headaches. These pains come in cluster periods, that can last anywhere from weeks to months, with a remission periods following after these cluster periods, that may lasts for months or years.

    The pain is excruciating, generally situated in or around one eye, but may radiate to other areas of your face, head, neck and shoulders. Face may turn red and be swollen. There's a nerve called the trigeminal nerve, and its responsible for sensations such as heat or pain in your face. It's near the eye, and it branches up to your forehead, across your cheek, down your jaw line, and above your ear on the same side, too. So, cluster headaches affect sufferers in the areas of body that this nerve is located.

    The fact of the matter is that we still dont fully understand what causes cluster headaches, but its theorized that changes in the structure of hypothalamus are the root cause of it. Hypothalamus is a part of the brain responsible for circadian rhythms, our bodies cycles that control our sleep and also regulate our temperature and blood pressure, which probably explains why cluster headaches attack their victims at certain times of the day and year.

    Official medications for cluster headaches help to treat it, but there is no official cure for it. Also, people with cluster headaches have 20 times higher suicide rates than general population in United States and cluster headaches are often said by to be very distinct from migraines and as the worst pain known to medical science.

    And that's where psychedelics come in.

    The first modern reports of people using psychedelics to treat or even cure cluster headaches are decades old. The psychedelic that is mostly researched on the matter is LSD, and lo a lesser extent psilocybin mushrooms. And the evidence isnt just based on a few anecdotal stories, but rather pretty much all off people who have or had cluster headaches and took psychedelics, saw a significant improvement in their symptoms lasting for weeks, months, years and by some reports lifetimes.

    There was a pilot study published by International Headache Congress, which revealed that six patients treated with 2-bromo-LSD, a non-hallucinogenic analog of LSD, showed a significant reduction in cluster headaches per day, resulting in some sufferers being relived for weeks and months. Standard moderate doses of psychedelics, particularly LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, are usually used by people to treat cluster headaches, and they seem to be very effective.

    Microdosing is also an option, which seems to be relatively effective, but psychedelics need to be taken often for this to work properly, in most cases.


    Cluster headaches is a horrific condition which leads a lot of its sufferers to seeking any alternative ways to treat it, because the traditional medicine doesn't appear to be very effective for most people. And while there isn't a lot of information regarding the use of psychedelics to treat cluster headaches, but there is some, and that information is incredibly promising, and because of severity of this condition, some people might want to consider trying certain alternative methods.
    Last edited by mr peabody; 09-10-2018 at 21:02.
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    Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD

    Andrew Sewell, John Halpern, Harrison Pope

    The authors interviewed 53 cluster headache patients who had used psilocybin or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to treat their condition. 22 of 26 psilocybin users reported that psilocybin aborted attacks; 25 of 48 psilocybin users and 7 of 8 LSD users reported cluster period termination; 18 of 19 psilocybin users and 4 of 5 LSD users reported remission period extension. Research on the effects of psilocybin and LSD on cluster headache may be warranted.

    Cluster headache, often considered the most painful of all types of headache, affects predominantly men (0.4% vs 0.08% of women) and typically begins after age 20 years. The disorder is categorized as either episodic, occurring for 1-week to 1-year periods, interspersed with pain-free remission periods, or chronic , in which the headaches occur constantly for more than a year with no remission longer than 1 month. Ten percent of episodic cluster headaches ultimately evolve into the chronic form, and these are termed secondary chronic. In standard descriptions of cluster headache, an attack refers to the actual paroxysm of pain, a cluster period refers to a period of time when attacks occur regularly, and a remission period refers to a prolonged attack-free interval. Oxygen and sumatriptan are the mainstays of acute abortive treatment, whereas verapamil, lithium, corticosteroids, and other neuromodulators can suppress attacks during cluster periods. No medications are known to terminate cluster periods or extend remission periods. The effects of the ergot alkaloid derivative lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and the related indolalkylamine psilocybin on cluster headache have not previously been described and may include such properties.

    Our results are interesting for three reasons. First, no other medication, to our knowledge, has been reported to terminate a cluster period. Second, unlike other ergot-based medications, which must be taken daily, a single dose of LSD was described as sufficient to induce remission of a cluster period nd psilocybin rarely required more than three doses. Third, given the apparent efficacy of subhallucinogenic doses, these drugs might benefit cluster headache by a mechanism unrelated to their psychoactive effects.

    Several limitations of this study should be considered. First, it is subject to recall bias, because it relies primarily on participants’ retrospective reports. However, 6 participants provided detailed headache diaries that corroborated their recall. In addition, 3 of the 53 participants tried psilocybin for the first time subsequent to consenting to participate in the study but before being questioned; 2 reported complete efficacy and 1 reported partial efficacy, a prospective response rate consistent with our retrospective findings.

    A second consideration is the possibility of selection bias, in that individuals with a good outcome may have been more likely to participate. Recruitment over the Internet also selects for younger, more educated, and more motivated subjects, likely leading to increased reported efficacy.

    Third, participants were not blind to their treatment, raising the possibility of a placebo response. However, cluster headache is known to respond poorly to placebo; controlled trials have shown a placebo response of 0% to prophylactic medications such as verapamil, capsaicin, and melatonin, and less than 20% to abortive medications such as sumatriptan. Therefore, it seems unlikely that we would have found more than 50 cases of apparent response to psilocybin or LSD through placebo effects alone.

    Our observations must be regarded as preliminary, in that they are unblinded, uncontrolled, and subject to additional limitations as described above. Therefore, our findings almost certainly overestimate the response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD and should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of the use of illegal substances for the self-treatment of cluster headache. However, given the high reported efficacy for this notoriously refractory condition, it is difficult to dismiss this series of cases as entirely artifactual. Further research is warranted.
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