I have a theory to explain this which I've called the "wave theory", but I haven't been able to explain that well, so I'll try another analogy based off one my Dr gave me for allergies years ago when those were an issue.
He said your immune system is like a bucket.Â Pollens, molds, bacteria, toxins, etc get put into the bucket and you don't have any symptoms unless your immune system bucket overflows.Â Any of the items can cause it to overflow.
So here's my CH "bucket theory".Â I think we have a CH bucket which is not full during remission periods but overflows during cluster periods.Â When the bucket gets near full, there are a number of items that can cause it to overflow, causing CHs. And the more it overflows, the more intense the pain and frequent the CHs.Â At max overflow, you have chronic, intense CHs.Â When barely overflowing, we have shadows.Â The bucket fill level seems to move up and down throughout the day (probably caused by biological and daylight cycles), causing episodes when overflowing and PF when slightly below full.
What causes this bucket to fill up and overflow?Â Apparently, the biggest one is caused by rapid changes in daylight, so probably something to do with Tryptamine levels (serotonin, psycedelics, Imitrex, etc).Â Â Other less "filling" items include smoking, low vitamin D levels, low blood sugar levels, alcohol, low testosterone, stomach gas, etc.Â Perhaps low oxygen levels could be another since O2 generally helps.Â Â Any one of these can cause your CH bucket to overflow which is why different people can have different triggers.Â And when your bucket is not near full, you can drink, smoke, etc and not get CHs, leading people to believe these are not triggers.
So to bust a cluster cycle, you have to try eliminating as many of the common triggers as possible to lower the bucket level.Â And it seems that psychedelics are able to improve the tryptamine levels (or whatever it is) which is the #1 contributor associated with the changing daylight cycles.Â And I think this is why shrooms, seeds, etc seem to work for most people - because they attach the bucket's primary content - whatever that is.
This isn't a perfect theory or analogy, but it helps me understand the nature of CH's better.Â A wave analogy is probably better since it explains all the cyclical behavior of clusters and episodes, but way too complicated to envision.