Busting

THE CLUSTERBUSTER METHOD

The Clusterbuster Method is a way of using hallucinogenic tryptamines such as psilocybin to relieve cluster headache. Many cluster headache sufferers, affectionately called “Clusterheads,” find that small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of these tryptamines can end cluster headache cycles and prevent entire cycles from starting.

It may seem extreme to resort to hallucinogens, but a cluster headache is nothing if not extreme. It’s been called the worst headache, or pain of any kind, known to medicine. It is also called suicide headache, as suicide is known as a thankfully-rare symptom. Many clusterheads facing this beast call it just that: the Beast.

Many medications are effective to some degree. High-volume pure oxygen, or triptans such as Imitrex injections are commonly used to relieve individual attacks. There are many treatments to prevent attacks, including verapamil, lithium and steroids; these vary in effectiveness and severity of side effects.

The Clusterbusters organization believes tryptamines are better than these prescription pharmaceuticals. Tryptamines seem more effective for preventive use, and if used carefully produce fewer side effects by far. For aborting attacks, they rival oxygen in safety and effectiveness.

Tryptamines have their dangers. Aside from being illegal in most countries, they are powerful drugs and must be respected. Pregnant women and people prone to mental illness should not use tryptamines. While it is not necessary to experience a psychedelic trip in order to treat cluster headache, a trip remains a possibility, and one should be prepared.

This chapter is just a quick rundown of the Clusterbuster Method to help fellow clusterheads decide whether to look into this further. There is much to learn and understand – and much to discuss with your physician – before attempting this treatment.

Index of pages:    (all linked below)

warnings,  the psilocybin mushroom,  LSA seeds,  playing well together,  shutting the doorthe dosing methodways to takecoping,  oxygen,  the experience,  keeping track,  how well does this work,  other tryptamines.

 WARNING – TRYPTAMINES ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE

  • Do not use tryptamines if you are pregnant, they can cause miscarriage.
  • Do not use tryptamines if you suffer from or are prone to mental illness.
  • Take tryptamines only in the proper mind set and physical setting.
  • Tryptamines have physiological effects.
  • Tryptamines are illegal.
  • We are not doctors. This is not medical advice.
  • Take no medication and use no treatment without consulting a physician.
  • Obtain a through and accurate diagnosis from a knowledgeable doctor or neurologist 
before assuming you suffer from cluster headache.

For more detailed warnings see the WARNINGS page.

Legal

Information on this web site is for peer support purposes only. Information included should not replace necessary medical consultations with a qualified health professional to meet your individual health or medical needs, or those of your loved ones.

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THE SUBSTANCES

Psilocybin and lysergic acid amide (LSA) are the hallucinogens most used in the Clusterbuster Method. Both belong to the tryptamine family of chemicals. LSD is another tryptamine effective against clusters, and there may be others, including a relative of LSD that causes no hallucinogenic effects – research is ongoing.

There are natural sources for some tryptamines: psilocybin can be found in the psilocybe family of “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms.” The seeds of certain flowering vines contain LSA. Since most tryptamines are illegal, using natural sources is safer, more reliable and avoids involvement with criminal elements.

For more about psilocybin see THE PSILOCYBIN MUSHROOM

For more on LSA, see LSA – SEEDS OF THE VINE

For more on other useful tryptamines see OTHER TRYPTAMINES

THE INTERACTION PROBLEM

Unfortunately, many of the medications used to treat cluster headache tend to interfere with the effectiveness of the tryptamines. A period of “detoxification,” under a doctor’s supervision of course, is needed to clear these drugs from the system. See PLAYING WELL TOGETHER

Imitrex and other triptans, steroids such as Prednisone, and many other medications can interfere. Some cluster medications can unpredictably increase the psychedelic effects of tryptamines. There are many medications where little is known, especially those taken for other conditions.

There are effective treatments to use during the “detox” period. Breathing high levels of oxygen through non-rebreather masks is very effective. Large amounts of coffee, or taurine energy drinks drank quickly are favorite emergency treatments. And there are the physical coping techniques: ice packs, hot showers, cold water, hard exercise, intense swearing and any number of strange and extreme things clusterheads do to battle the Beast.
See COPING – BUSTER-FRIENDLY TREATMENTS

THE DOSING METHOD

Clusterheads use tryptamine substances in a variety of ways. During a cycle, many take a small to moderate dose of psilocybin or LSA every five days or so, until the cycle stops. In some cases, only two or three doses are needed, others may find they must dose roughly once a week or every two weeks.
Better yet, Clusterheads have found they can take a few small doses before a cluster headache cycle is expected to start, and find the cycle never arrives, or is greatly reduced. Some have had success using even smaller doses to stop individual cluster attacks.

For more informations, see THE DOSING METHOD.

THE EXPERIENCE

The idea here is to experience the maximum cluster relief with a minimum of psychoactive effects. A moderate dose of psilocybin might cause as much high as a couple of beers, though it is a different kind of high. Small doses can be effective even though the effects are slight to none. With LSA seeds, most people will experience little or no side effects at cluster treatment doses – some report drowsiness, some nothing at all. However, LSA can cause significant psychedelic experiences in some people.

While small doses are enough to treat clusters, tryptamines are powerful hallucinogens and must be used with caution. Those with a tendency toward mental illness should avoid tryptamines or any other hallucinogen. The plan is to minimize the high, but also to prepare for any psychedelic experiences that might come along. Every person is different, and every natural substance – mushroom or seed – may differ significantly in potency. See WARNINGS

There is promising research involving a tryptamine that does not cause significant psychoactive effects, and if it confirmed, could enable many more people to consider the clusterbuster method. To learn more, read HOW WELL DOES THIS WORK?.

For more on the experience of using tryptamines to treat clusters, see THE EXPERIENCE

THE RELIEF

The effect of tryptamines on clusters can seem like magic at first – surprisingly fast and complete. But it’s not magic, it’s neurochemistry, and it’s not over until the proverbial opera performance ends.

Everyone is different, but there often is an immediate sense of relief, followed within a few hours or a day or two, by the return of cluster attacks. These “slap-backs” can be abnormal attacks – shorter or longer than usual, or more painful or less painful than usual, and coming at odd times. There might be a few or several but these attacks then may begin to fade, at least for a while.

Symptoms may gradually return or continue at a low level, and a repeat dose is needed. For many, two or three doses can end a cycle. Some find they must repeat the dose every week or two, gradually stretching out the time between doses until the cycle ends.

Tryptamines don’t seem to work on some people. For others it is extraordinarily effective. One sufferer of chronic cluster headaches reported being pain-free for years after a single dose. Another reported no relief at all after several relatively strong doses. For more on the results of this treatment see SO HOW WELL DOES THIS WORK?Works Well

The same treatments and coping methods used in the detox period can be used for these “slap-back” attacks and residual symptoms. Oxygen seems to be particularly effective when using the tryptamine treatment. For more on this, see COPING: BUSTER-FRIENDLY TREATMENTS.

Be sure to read the OXYGEN INFORMATION  page. Oxygen is a lifesaver for many cluster headache sufferers.

THE LEGALITIES

Make no mistake, these substances are illegal, even when only used to treat cluster headaches.

We cannot and do not recommend buying drugs on the street – it’s illegal and dangerous. Drug dealers are hardly the most savory or trustworthy of individuals, and the drugs they sell might not be what they claim.

There are ways to obtain psilocybin and LSA seeds without dealing with a criminal element, but these other ways are also illegal. In fact, it might be more illegal (a felony) to grow your own mushrooms than to buy them from a drug dealer and possess them (often a misdemeanor). This is not how it should be, and the Clusterbusters hope for a day when drug laws are more rational.

Tryptamines are illegal.

Most all of them, most everywhere. Now understand – we are not lawyers, this is not legal advice, and the law can be complex and vary widely from place to place. When in doubt consult a licensed attorney familiar with the laws in your location.

Seeds containing LSA might be legal to buy, sell, grow and possess in some places. But not to eat. Eating RC, HBWR and Morning glory seeds is usually illegal. Even to treat cluster headaches.

Psilocybin mushrooms are illegal almost everywhere. They might be legal in the Netherlands, but that could change at any time. There may be countries where the government doesn’t care much about mushrooms being illegal, but you can’t count on that. In some parts of then US, you can have shrooms growing on your land, as long as you can reasonably show you didn’t know about it. But if you pick and eat them, that means you knew about it. In most US states (except Georgia and California), psilocybin mushroom spores can be possessed, but only for educational or scientific purposes. You can look at them with a microscope, but you’re not allowed to grow them into mushrooms. Eating spores doesn’t help – they contain no psilocybin.

LSD is illegal everywhere for anything, unless you have a research license. Which you don’t.

DMT concoctions like Ayahuasca are illegal everywhere unless you belong to certain religions in certain countries, which you don’t. And no, you can’t join these religions over the Internet.

The best thing to do is to assume all tryptamines are always illegal, and discretion is always wise.

For more about legal matters, click here: LEGAL.

THE RESULTS

In 2006, Dr. John Halpern and Dr. Andrew Sewell reported to the National Headache Foundation Research Summit on their case review study, later published in the journal Neurology. They reviewed reports from Clusterheads and found over 80 percent reported significant relief using tryptamines.

These results confirmed several hundred anecdotal reports of treating cluster headaches with tryptamines. A review of these reports shows about 67 percent of chronic cluster headache sufferers and about 75 percent of episodic sufferers report significant relief. These reports were mostly collected from Internet discussion groups and internet survey forms; they aren’t scientifically valid, but provide dramatic testimony from clusterheads finding relief. More formal research is in the works, see HOW WELL DOES THIS WORK?

THE THEORY

We don’t know how this works. The current theory is one of SHUTTING THE DOORThere is informed speculation on how such small amounts of substances can overcome such large headaches, but there is much to be learned. It’s serious neurology, of course. Some ideas seem to center on the way tryptamines constrict blood vessels; others involve the way the indole-ring molecule of the tryptamines fits into seratonin receptors. Particularly interesting is the way small, infrequent doses can have long-lasting effects and seem to work best if taken at intervals of several days.

Of course, it is not magic even if it seems like it, and serious scientific research into the mechanism of both cluster headache and tryptamine effects on the brain would go a long way toward eliminating much massive pain.

DON’T STOP NOW

Don’t stop reading now. Read everything here. Please don’t use tryptamines without researching and studying the matter thoroughly and consulting your physician.

WARNING!

READ THIS FIRST!

TRYPTAMINES ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE

Do not use tryptamines if you are pregnant; they can cause miscarriage.

Do not use tryptamines if you suffer from or are prone to mental illness.

Tryptamines may interact with other medications.

Tryptamines have physiological effects.

People diagnosed in the past or present with a psychotic disorder, or people with biological parents or siblings diagnosed with a psychotic disorder should not take tryptamines, including LSD, psilocybin, DMT and LSA. Psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, delusional disorder, affective (mood-related) psychosis and others. Tryptamines may exacerbate symptoms of psychosis or trigger psychosis in people who were psychotic in the past, or with immediate family members who were or are psychotic.

Taking tryptamines during or immediately after a period of emotional upheaval, such as a relationship breakup the death of a loved one, may intensify negative emotions, even to a proportion that feels “out of control.”

Tryptamines should only be taken when one feels confident and secure in his or her ability to handle a psychedelic experience and is confident in the stability of one’s mind set.

Tryptamines should be taken only in a place where one feels secure and with people they can trust.

Tryptamines and some of the chemicals found in natural substances containing tryptamines can cause miscarriage. Do not take tryptamines if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.

Use of some tryptamines is known to increase heart rate and blood pressure, so consult with your doctor if you suffer any conditions that would be negatively affected by this.

Reynaud’s syndrome (cold-triggered reduction or loss of circulation in fingers and toes) will be made worse by taking a vasoconstrictor, and tryptamines are vasoconstrictors.

People taking lithium, whether for preventing cluster headaches or for some other reason, should not use tryptamines. Anecdotal reports suggest lithium can greatly increase the psychoactive effects of tryptamines and that it can produce very unpleasant feelings, or even symptoms similar to epileptic seizures.

Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Trofanil (imipramine), Anafranil (clomipramine) and others, and MAOIs taken along with tryptamines, may greatly intensify the psychoactive effects.

People with serious liver problems should avoid psilocybin mushrooms as some might have compounds that could affect the liver.

TRYPTAMINES ARE ILLEGAL

Most all of them, most everywhere. Now understand – we are not lawyers, this is not legal advice, and the law can be complex and vary widely from place to place. When in doubt consult a licensed attorney familiar with the laws in your location.

Seeds containing LSA might be legal to buy, sell, grow and possess in some places. But not to eat. Eating RC, HBWR and Morning glory seeds is usually illegal. Even to treat cluster headaches.

Psilocybin mushrooms are illegal almost everywhere. They might be legal in the Netherlands, but that could change at any time. There may be countries where the government doesn’t care much about mushrooms being illegal, but you can’t count on that. In some parts of then US, you can have shrooms growing on your land, as long as you can reasonably show you didn’t know about it. But if you pick and eat them, that means you knew about it.

In most US states (except Georgia and California), psilocybin mushroom spores can be possessed, but only for educational or scientific purposes. You can look at them with a microscope, but you’re not allowed to grow them into mushrooms. Eating spores doesn’t help – they contain no psilocybin.

LSD is illegal everywhere for anything, unless you have a research license. Which you don’t. DMT concoctions like Ayahuasca are illegal everywhere unless you belong to certain religions in certain countries, which you don’t. And no, you can’t join these religions over the Internet.

The best thing to do is to assume all tryptamines are always illegal, and discretion is always wise.