Other tryptamines are effective for treating clusters, but they have their drawbacks in practical use. In fact, there may be many others in the tryptamine family with useful properties, but most are relatively unknown and research is difficult. There has been some experience with the more easily obtainable tryptamines, and with some non-tryptamines as well.
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) could be the most effective of the tryptamines for cluster treatment, according to some. Many have reported impressive success using LSD to treat clusters. Flash, who first brought the tryptamine treatment to the attention of cluster heads on the clusterheadaches.com (DJ’s) web site discussion board, thought it was his recreational LSD use that prevented some of his cluster cycles.
There are three main drawbacks to LSD, however:
It does not occur naturally, and is only available through illegal channels.
It can be hard to divide a recreational dose into smaller doses accurately.
At recreational and larger (entheogenic) doses, the psychedelic experience can be very intense, very unsettling and very long-lasting – 8 to 12 hours or more.
LSD is illegal everywhere. Even though the substance has a rich history of scientific inquiry, only recently has it again become possible to conduct approved scientific research with LSD.
DMT (dimethyl tryptamine) is a very potent hallucinogen found in many plants and animals; it’s even present in the human brain. There are a few reports of its use to treat clusters with good success. But this hallucinogen is powerful. Its effects are so intense, bizarre and outrageous, it’s not recommended as a cluster treatment.
DMT as an extracted or synthesized chemical is available only through illegal channels. In this form, it is usually smoked, as it has no effect when taken orally. It produces very intense and all-enveloping hallucinations for a relatively short time – 30 minutes to an hour.
DMT is also available in ayahuasca, an herbal concoction where DMT from a natural source is combined with an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) from a natural source. The MAOI allows DMT to be effective when taken orally, as it blocks the action of an enzyme – monoamine oxidase, of course – which otherwise would destroy the DMT molecule in the stomach.
What ayahuasca is made of varies, depending on the herbalist or shaman who concocts it. Each may use a different recipe and the plant substances used may vary by region. The DMT may come from any number of natural sources, as may the MAOI, and there may be any number of other herbal substances mixed in.
Ayahuasca is often prepared as a tea, and its effect may be much slower to come on and much longer lasting than smoked DMT. The experience may last for 12 to 24 hours.
Ayahuasca is illegal in the U.S. unless you are a member of the Santo Daime or Uniao do Vegetal religious groups, whose members have as a First Amendment right to use the substance in their religious ceremonies. It may be legal for traditional spiritual use in some South American countries, but is illegal almost everywhere else because it contains DMT.
This is also known as Bromo-LSD, as it is the LSD molecule with a bromine atom attached.
There is research sponsored by the Clusterbusters now underway in Germany on this substance, as it holds the promise of effectively treating cluster cycles and attacks without the psychedelic effects of the other tryptamines.
So far, small scale studies are very promising, with 5 of 6 of the initial subjects showing significant to complete relief from cluster attacks, and the one failure being a subject who refused to stop drinking alcohol. See the BOL148 study on the SO HOW WELL DOES THIS WORK page: WORKS WELL
The biggest drawback of BOL 148 is its almost complete lack of availability anywhere. It must be custom made by a certified and licensed laboratory, and as such would cost more than $10,000 for even the smallest amount.
BOL 148 may or may not be legal. It is not a listed substance in the U.S. DEA’s schedules of controlled substances, but might be considered illegal as an analogue of, or precursor to, LSD. It will likely take a criminal or administrative law case to settle the matter.
The Clusterbusters hope to continue pursuing and supporting research into BOL 148. An effective, legal tryptamine without the psychedelic effects would be a godsend to cluster sufferers everywhere. Visit the Clusterbuster.com web site and clink on “contribute” to assist the cause.
Since certain tryptamines are effective treatment for clusters, some jump to the conclusion that other illegal and psychoactive drugs are effective as well. This is not the case – so far as we know, only the tryptamine family relieves cluster headaches, and there has been experience with only a few members of that family. So far, there are two tryptamines that many consider effective and practical for the average clusterhead: psilocybin and LSA.
Marijuana – The consensus among cluster heads is marijuana actually triggers cluster attacks or makes them worse for many, and that it has no effect at all on clusters for others. However, there have been a few published case reports on marijuana relieving clusters, and a few say they find relief from the proper strain.
Mescaline – This drug from the peyote cactus has psychoactive effects much like the tryptamines, so there has been speculation it might help clusters. Mescaline belongs to the phenethylamine family (which includes ecstasy and the amphetamines), and so far reports of its effectiveness are few or none.
Opiates – Drugs derived from opium, whether illegal or legal by prescription, interfere with the tryptamine treatment. They are not generally effective for clusters. These very powerful pain relievers are useless in the face of a cluster attack; a few say they won’t relieve the pain, but the strongest can make one not care about it.
Cocaine – This was once seen as a possible treatment for cluster headache by topically applying it deep inside the sinuses. It is generally considered ineffective and obsolete for this purpose. Few physicians can or will prescribe or administer it, and illegal sources are trouble.
Others – We don’t know that any of the other popular illegal, recreational drugs are helpful for clusters. Now and then someone shows up on a discussion board claiming some drug or one herb or another is helpful. In most cases these claims don’t pan out (this goes for legal herbals and prescription drugs as well). A few have stood the test of time and use by clusterheads – as the tryptamines have, and kudzu, for example. So far as we know, none of the other popular illegal drugs are any help for clusters. This goes for methamphetamine, ketamine, phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust), dextromethorphan, salvinorin-A (salvia) and whatever the abused drug of the month happens to be.