Some of us might think a Clusterhead is a fan of a certain genre of music, but in fact, it’s a self-appointed term by those suffering from a chronic and debilitating condition.
Those that live with this condition report very intense and persistent symptoms. Often mysterious and ongoing for many years, a condition that the medical industry can not yet adequately treat, but there is hope…read on!
What are cluster headaches?
Cluster headaches tend to start as we fall into REM sleep. Described as pain moving from one side of the head and then wrapping behind the eyes. Some say it can feel like one’s eyes are on fire and their heads will explode, others swear they feel an ice pick in their brains.
Nearly all agree that it feels more painful than anesthesia-free childbirth or amputation.
With potentially several attacks per day, the triggers seem to be random and unpredictable.
In this article from March 2021, they describe it as:
“The immune and neuroendocrine (nerve-hormone system) is likely to play a role in causing migraines. Immune-system cells can activate nociceptors in response to inflammation. Cells of the hypothalamus and brainstem may also activate nociceptors in response to physiological and emotional changes, as part of neuroendocrine regulation.”
In these last couple of decades, some progress has been made in terms of understanding the mechanics of this chronic condition, but still largely in the dark as to what exactly triggers cluster headaches.
Psychable explains it this way:
“Researchers are still investigating what causes cluster headaches. 2017 study suggests abnormal activity in the hypothalamus, the trigeminovascular system, and the autonomic nervous system may trigger episodes.
A cluster period can last for weeks, months, or in extreme cases, even a year. During this time, attacks typically last between 15 minutes and 180 minutes. While they are often conflated with migraines, the two conditions are very different. Migraines vary in pain severity. While cluster headaches come in debilitating bursts, migraines last a day or more.”
Sufferers can spend decades looking for a solution. From one medicine to the next. One treatment or another. Sooner or later, many end up internet looking for support, suggestions, and community.
Psilocybin and cluster headaches
The fertile ground of online chat rooms is where psilocybin becomes a serious consideration.
Some accidentally discovered that a single dose of psilocybin ‘cured’ their cluster headaches, others learned it through word of mouth, and a precious few are now starting to learn about it through medical research.
Our customers are often our teachers and guides. They drew our attention to this potential treatment (or cure) and our curiosity was piqued. As time goes by, we are consistently hearing more of these anecdotal reports and finally decided to officially investigate. Here’s what we’ve learned so far.
ClusterBusters, is a non-profit advocacy and education group on cluster headaches. They opened their doors in 2002, and by 2006 they already had an important clinical study published in the medical journal called Neurology.
These 6 advocates managed to persuade Harvard Medical School to help pioneer the first psychedelic research project on-site, in over 40 years.
Research that would ultimately begin confirming what many already knew. Anecdotal stories and accidental experiences have brought many to the conclusion that psilocybin does halts an attack right in its tracks.
Despite magic mushrooms (psilocybin) being illegal in most countries at the moment of writing, and therefore difficult to source, the undercurrent of society is taking the lead. Luckily in the Netherlands psilocybin truffles are legal and available for purchase online. Buy your microdosing truffles here.
On various chat sites and message threads, there will be personal stories of miracle relief.
“I got ahold of a handful of tiny magic mushrooms last year. Never tried them before this,” writes one Reddit user with cluster headaches. “I was nervous about trying them so I only ate three. I fell asleep thinking it didn’t work. The next day I didn’t feel any pain, but it was too early to tell. So I ate another four mushrooms and didn’t get any pain that time. The results 15 months later: The headache pain never came back. Not even a hint of pain. Not the slightest shadow.”
This article in The Cut discusses how difficult it can be to get good medical treatment, even the legal kind:
“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.”
While legal treatment is technically available, it is far from solving the problem.
The evidence suggests that psilocybin can treat cluster headaches safely and that many pharmaceutical products can sometimes worsen symptoms. It is imperative that research continues and expands to further study the effects of psilocybin on cluster headaches.
Preconceived notions, stereotypes, and assumptions are often long-lasting. Hard to believe how a noble life force like fungi can have such a permanently poor reputation.
It feels ridiculous to say that often, most humans have the instinct of throwing rocks at that which is mysterious, potent, and complicated, and yet we often do just that.
As someone that does not personally suffer it’s tricky to make recommendations. Even in my personal life, when I meet someone new and hear of their headaches, I never know whether or not to recommend psilocybin. It is arguably still a controversial topic and one to be undertaken gently and will leave you with the words of Dr. Rosenberg – the director of the Johns Hopkins Headache Center.
“So many people are misdiagnosed and given medication that would never work on a cluster. 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.”
Everyone finds the medicine that is right for them, in their own time, always. Having said that, those that do swear that their headaches are nearly cured thanks to psilocybin are definitely paving the way forward. This undercurrent of society is pushing for more medical research, product legalization, and product availability.
Share your stories with us, we would love to know about your experiences with psilocybin.
Shine bright. Do good. Flow strong.