Busting refers to the process of using psychedelics as a treatment for cluster headaches. These types of treatments are also being used successfully to treat other headache disorders. The term busting is derived from the results that psychedelics have had in “busting a cycle” and ending it prematurely.
The use of these treatments began in 1998 and have since been used successfully by thousands of people worldwide.
There is a standard treatment plan that is a suggested starting point. These general guidelines can be found in the copyrighted document “Busting Clusters” which is available through the Clusterbuster Website. This standard has been refined over the years and is the most often used and successful treatment plan. This includes specific warnings that everyone should make themselves aware of as well as contraindicated medications and health issues, dosing schedules and the various choices of psychedelics. The basic guidelines for Busting which work best for the majority of people using this method involve the following basics:
- Detox from the list of medications that can block the actions of the psychedelics for a minimum of 5 days prior to the first dose.
- Stay off all these blockers while people go through the dosing process.
- Leave 5 days between doses to clear all receptors so that the next dose will again attach to as many receptors as possible.
- Wait these 5 days between doses so that you get the best results and this time period also allows enough time to determine how much progress has been made with the previous dose.
- For chronics, after the first couple of doses, people are encouraged to try increasing the number of days between each dose. Try 5 days, 7 days, 10 days etc. Hoping to get to needing a dose once a month or longer.
Although this is the most successful scheduling and dosing, this doesn’t always work for everyone and just like with every other treatment, changes can be made to find a regimen that works best for them.
For some people Verapamil works at 80mg a day. Others need up to 1200mg a day. Most people need to find a therapeutic dose through trial and error. No one is the same and no medication works the same way at the same doses for everyone.
This is also true for the psychedelic treatments. We feel that there are many factors that come into play in each instance. It seems to depend upon things such as how long they have been using different prescription medications. If someone has been using a lot of sumatriptan for many years, a workable psychedelic treatment plan is harder to find than someone that has used very little.
If you have questions about how to proceed from the beginning or if you have questions during your busting attempts, the best place to get answers and suggestions is our Clusterbusters’ message board. It has people on the board that have been using these treatments for years and helping others find relief. Go to the board and post your questions in the “Busting Stories” section. You’ll need to register so you can get into this private area. The link to the board is: https://clusterbusters.org/forums/
There are some tips that can help these treatments work better and get to a pain free time more quickly.
- Use only oxygen as an abortive once you’ve started treatments. Things like energy drinks are also well tolerated during the process without hampering the treatments. Do your best to stay away from any of your cluster prescription medications, especially the 4 major food groups: Triptans, Steroids, Ergotamines & opioids.
- Use oxygen as quickly as possible once an attack seems to be coming. The less pain you experience the better. It is felt that eliminating as much pain as possible will allow the pain pathways to heal more quickly. This “healing” starts to break the habit of the pain being triggered by the brain to immediately fall back into the same pattern. We are trying to teach the brain to use the correct pathways.
- More is not necessarily better. It’s best to try the lowest doses first and see what your lowest dose is that will produce an effect most likely to have positive results. What you are looking to feel from a dose is a light headed feeling where all the pressure in your head disappears. You should be able to feel the pain and pressure drain away. The hallucinogenic effects associated with this feeling the most would be slightly brighter colors and some enhanced stereo sound separation. The pressure free feeling should be the most apparent effect.
- Once you’ve broken a cycle, be sure to have a supply on hand so that you can take a maintenance dose either a couple weeks before your scheduled next cycle or at minimum taken at the first sign of a new cycle. Do not be caught off guard and without supplies. It’s much easier to avoid the next cycle with a proactive dose than to break the next cycle if you let it get a foothold again.
There are some options (Busting hacks) to try that have worked for others if the basic set of guidelines doesn’t work or doesn’t produce complete results.
Although finding the lowest effective dose is most often effective in breaking a cycle, this isn’t always what works for everyone. After trying this method, some people have tried different adjustments and ended up being successful:
- Escalating Dose 5 day Schedule.
This method helps keep the receptors flooded with psilocybin and allows much higher doses without increasing the hallucinogenic effects.
We can take advantage of the fact that once you take a dose, your receptors will be blocked for several days.
Due to this blocking effect, some people have been successful breaking a cycle after a 5 day constant dosing schedule. You can increase the size of the dose each day with even less hallucinogenic effect. Be a little careful with the 2nd day increase to make sure that you are getting this usual blocking effect. Remember that everyone is different.
A typical escalating dose plan would go something like this.
Day one: 1.5gram dried mushrooms
Day two: 2.5 grams
Day 3: 4 grams
Day 4: 5 grams
Day 5: 6 gramsAfter day 5, take a break and see how you’re doing with progress for breaking the cycle.This method can also be used if your psychedelic of choice is LSD or LSA
- Changing up
Some people have better results with different psychedelics. If one doesn’t work, try another of the options. I would suggest getting a supply of LSA seeds to have on hand. They are very easy to obtain online and can be the first of the options you’ll be able to procure. They do work well for some people and even if they don’t work completely, you should be able to tell if these treatments will work for you. If you don’t get full relief, move up the ladder to mushrooms or LSD.LSD has the best results overall. If you’ve been using mushrooms and can’t quite get over the top and break the cycle, you can try to procure LSD and try dosing with that. One of the biggest issues with LSD vs Mushrooms is that you can’t grow your own LSD and if you grow your own mushrooms, you’ll always know what you have, where it came from, and will be the cheapest way to go forward as years go by.DMT is a tricky psychedelic to use as it is so powerful but the effects are short lived, as in 15 minutes. Starting out very low dose is recommended. It has always been thought that DMT might end up being the most effective in breaking cycles but very few people have either been able to access the drug or have been brave enough to go down that road. If you decide to try it, be sure to do plenty of reading on dosing and preparing for the dose. More on DMT below.
- Helpful during your dosing schedule:
If you’re having a difficult time getting thru the days between the doses, it’s possible to occasionally take a very small dose that can get you thru the day without completely blocking the next full dose. Its not the best way to go about this treatment but its better than taking an occasional dose of sumatriptan or giving up on the process completely.
- Try combination dosing.
People have been successful with combining a couple of different psychedelics after having less success with sticking to one. One combination is psilocybin and MDMA. Adding a normal range dose of psilocybin such as 1.5g to a “normal” dose of MDMA will give a slightly more intense dose than a regular 1.5 dose of psilocybin alone.Another combination is adding DMT to a regular dose of psilocybin. Again the length of time of the effects from DMT will be very short. During the middle of the psilocybin dose (1.5 – 2 hours in) add a small dose od DMT. You definitely want to have a sitter with you to help.I would only suggest that people that are experienced in using only one psychedelic give this a try. You need to be confident in what you are doing and aware of what types of experiences different doses of say psilocybin have produced for you. Everyone is different and you need to have a good handle on your own dosing effects.Personally, I have had luck with both of these combination doses in breaking hard to break cycles.
- Adding helpful supplements
Although we normally recommend trying to get off of anything you’re taking to treat your clusters before attempting busting techniques, there are some supplements that can be help to add if you’re having a tough time breaking a cycle. There are some things that can be helpful without messing with the set of neurotransmitters that busting requires to treat. The fewer attacks that you’re trying to treat, the better.
A. Add the entire D-3 regimen to your daily treatment plan.
B. See if Melatonin will help, especially with any nighttime attacks.
C. Adding 400mg of magnesium to your daily plan.
D. Check out our list of helpful aides found above in our Support Therapies section that won’t interfere with the busting. Try anything from Ginger tea to energy drinks.
- Escalating Dose 5 day Schedule.