OPEN Foundation

Unauthorized Research on Cluster Headache

Perhaps the greatest triumph of unauthorized research on visionary plants and drugs to date is the discovery that small doses of LSD, psilocybin, and LSA (lysergic acid amide) are more effective than any conventional medication in treating the dismal disorder, cluster headache. Five years ago, no one other than cluster headache patients or neurologists had ever heard of cluster headache. Now, treatment of cluster headache is routinely listed among potential therapeutic uses for psychedelics, and has even penetrated popular culture to the point that the character Gregory House, M.D. has used a psychedelic drug to treat headache on the TV show House not once, but twice (Kaplow 2006; Dick 2007)!

The first mention of therapeutic effect from a psychedelic on headache comes from Drs. D. Webster Prentiss and Francis P. Morgan, professors of medicine and pharmacology at Columbian University (now George Washington University), who began to conduct animal and human experiments with peyote in 1894 in order to determine whether or not it had any valuable medicinal properties. Two years later, their report concluded: “The conditions in which it seems probable that the use of mescal buttons will produce beneficial results are the following: In general ‘nervousness,’ nervous headache, nervous irritative cough… [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][etc.].” In their account are a number of cases, including #5: “The same gentleman reports that his wife formerly used to take the tincture [anhalonium 1] for nervous headaches and that it always relieved her. She has them so seldom now that she does not use it” (Prentiss & Morgan 1896).

Sewell, R. A. (2008). Unauthorized Research on Cluster Headache. The Entheogen Review, 16(4), 117-125.
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