Hallucinogens are as old as civilization. Many cultures recorded eating certain plants specifically to induce visions or alter the perception of reality. Often these hallucinations were part of a religious or prophetic experience. Shamans in Siberia were known to eat the hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria . The ancient Greeks and the Vikings also used naturally occurring plant hallucinogens. Peyote, a spineless cactus native to the southwestern United States and Mexico was used by native peoples, including the Aztecs, to produce visions.
A case report suggested the efficacy of cannabis to treat cluster headache (CH) attacks. Our aims were to study the frequency of cannabis use in CH patients, and the reported effects on attacks. A total of 139 patients with CH attending two French headache centers filled out questionnaires. Cannabis use is very frequent in CH patients, but its efficacy for the treatment of the attacks is limited. Less than one third of self-reported users mention a relief of their attacks following inhalation. Cannabis should not be recommended for CH unless controlled trials with synthetic selective cannabinoids show a more convincing therapeutic benefit.
Cluster headache (CH) is a stereotyped primary headache characterized by strictly unilateral severe orbital or periorbital pain and categorized as either episodic or chronic (1,2). Its prevalence is 0.1% (3). Oxygen and sumatriptan are the treatments of choice for individual attacks, whereas verapamil, lithium, corticosteroids and other neuromodulators can suppress attacks during cluster periods (1)
Pharmacological preparations of cannabinoid compounds have a variety of therapeutic uses in medicine, including different pain syndromes, but have not been previously reported as beneficial for cluster headache. We present a patient with cluster headache who was refractory to multiple acute and preventive medications but successfully aborted his attacks with recreational marijuana use; subsequent use of dronabinol provided equally effective pain relief.
The authors interviewed 53 cluster headache patients who had used psilocybin or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to treat their condition. Twenty-two of 26 psilocybin users reported that psilocybin aborted attacks; 25 of 48 psilocybin users and 7 of 8 LSD users reported cluster period termination; 18 of 19 psilocybin users and 4 of 5 LSD users reported remission period extension. Research on the effects of psilocybin and LSD on cluster headche may be warranted.