Psychedelics | Psychoactive Drugs | CBD

This is a project of Clusterbusters, Inc. to help those with headache disease find answers about an upcoming treatment possibility.

There has been a flurry of interest in psychedelics recently, but most of the conversation has been surrounding mental health. Researchers and experts discuss guided experiences and integration of those experiences often, and there are many mental health practitioners on the forefront of this movement. All of this is wonderful and exciting news.

However, these professionals are ignoring the very real benefit of these medicines in treatment of physical diseases. We know from 20 years of anecdotes and research that psilocybin and other psychedelics are effective in treating cluster headache. In fact, there is more evidence to support this than even for most mental health conditions. Frustratingly, we are pushed to the side of this conversation. We face stigma even in this community that understands stigma better than anyone. I’ve heard people suggest that headache diseases are just a manifestation of psychological distress and that’s why psychedelics help, but only with therapy and guided sessions.

Science tells us this is likely not the case. While there is a psychological component of living with a chronic and debilitating headache disease, it’s not really any different from the psychological component of living with any chronic disease like Parkinsons, Cerebral Palsy, ALS, or Cystic Fibrosis. Psychedelics may help to treat this psychological component, but there may be more to it than just helping someone cope with their illness.

Chemically psilocybin and some other psychedelics look a lot like medications already developed to treat migraine and used daily by millions of people. Triptans and ergotamines are first line treatments. But what if psilocybin works better? Researchers are trying to learn this now.

Prohibition created a gap in our knowledge about these medicines, and while waiting for research to catch up, Clusterbusters has spent the past 20 years telling people with cluster headaches about using this tool to prevent attacks and save lives. Now we want to tell people with migraine about it. As the research advances, we believe more people will begin to ask questions about psilocybin in treatment of migraine, and we want to provide real answers based on the best information available.

We do not want people with headache diseases to believe this is psychological and that if they just change their thinking they will feel better. We don’t think that is accurate. We also believe based on our 20 years of education, that the protocol for use of psychedelics for treatment of a psychological disease is different from that of the use for a physical disease like migraine. It’s not that guided experiences and integration can’t help, but even without it, we believe that psilocybin may be an effective preventive treatment for migraine.

More research is needed, but that research will take years, and we can offer information now. Please take a look around, ask questions, join the Clusterbusters forum, listen and learn.

Eileen Brewer