What is 5-MeO-DALT, and why should you care?
The short version is that 5-MeO-DALT is a fairly new option for cluster headache patients who are comfortable self-administering treatments. It is a simple tryptamine that acts on serotonin receptors in the brain. When used carefully, 5-MeO-DALT is extremely safe and is proving to be very effective for some cluster headache patients.
Now, the FAQs:
Q: Who invented this cluster headache treatment?
A: Nobody invented it as a cluster headache treatment at all. The “recipe” was devised by Alexander Shulgin in 2004, and later synthesized by a chemist. It became a relatively obscure “research chemical” used rarely as a recreational drug. More on that later. I stumbled upon 5-MeO-DALT because I was looking for a molecule that had some of the good properties of the things we know, like psilocybin and LSA (stopping my cluster headaches) without the bad properties (psychedelic trips, nausea, jail time).
Q: How does it work?
A: 5-MeO-DALT is a serotonergic. It works by engaging our serotonin receptors and sending a signal to our brains. The whole mechanism of exactly how this stops cluster headaches is still a mystery, but there are two key components: affinity and signaling. Affinity is how well a molecule “sticks” to the right receptors, and signaling is the actual message that it sends to our brains. 5-MeO-DALT has a higher affinity than psilocybin for the 5HT2A receptor, and it seems to send the right signal.
Q: What makes it better?
A: I’m not willing to say that it’s “better” than other alternative treatments, but I will point out the advantages. One advantage is dosage control. When you take 15mg of 5-MeO-DALT, you are getting 15mg of 5-MeO-DALT. By comparison, when you take an extraction of rivea corymbosa seeds, you are getting an unknown amount of LSA along with hundreds of other chemicals, some of them volatile. When you take 1g of mushrooms, you are getting an unknown amount of psilocybin along with hundreds of other chemicals, some of them volatile. Why is this important? Imagine listening to your favorite song. Now imagine listening to your favorite song while vacuuming, the dog is barking, a baby is crying, and someone is ringing your doorbell. Same song? Not really. Every chemical you put in your body has a ripple effect. 5-MeO-DALT is a single molecule that does one thing.
Secondly, the side effects are almost non-existent. Many of us avoid using tryptamines over fears of a “trip”. With a normal dose of 15mg of 5-MeO-DALT, most people notice absolutely no side effects at all. It has an extremely short half-life, so even if the user feels some effects (cold and sleepy are the two most common), it is out of your system in two hours.
Finally, it is very user-friendly. Accurate dosing of 5-MeO-DALT requires only a decent milligram scale and some empty gel capsules. For those of us who don’t have the patience to grow anything or do our own extractions, it’s a simple option.
Q: How is this stuff used for cluster headaches?
A: The consensus right now is 15mg every five days. For episodics, this should be repeated until you are certain the cycle has stopped. For chronics, this can be tricky. I recommend taking it every five days until full relief is attained, then gradually spacing out the doses. Frankly, some chronics are quite content taking a dose every five days no matter what. With its low cost and minimal side effects, that’s not a problem.
One question that always comes up: Doesn’t “more” mean “better”? Absolutely not. With this treatment option, we need to break the old paradigm of “trip out like it’s a Phish concert” to get relief. This is about a consistent dosage and schedule. If psilocybin and seeds are a hand grenade, this is a laser. If you feel the need to increase the dosage, I suggest cutting the time between doses to three or four days, not increasing the 15mg dose.
Q: How do I get this stuff?
A: One of the biggest challenges right now is that 5-MeO-DALT is available only on the “research chemical” market. This means it is sold alongside some particularly nasty stuff, and occasionally by vendors that aren’t the most reputable. I wish we could change this, but it’s just the reality of it. The best thing to do is research the reputation of vendors thoroughly before buying. Community sites like Reddit and the forums at ChemsRUs are great places to find out if a vendor is reliable. But at the end of the day, this is a DIY treatment. Each individual patient will have to establish their own source. Hopefully as the word gets out, more reliable sources will become available.
Q: Won’t I go to jail for this?
A: No. In most countries, 5-MeO-DALT remains unscheduled/unregulated. Japan and Sweden have made it illegal, and the UK is trying hard to make it illegal. In the US, it is possible to be prosecuted under the analog act, primarily if you decide to sell 5-MeO-DALT as a “street drug”. There is absolutely nothing illegal about buying or possessing it for personal use.
Q: Is it dangerous?
A: Not in the amounts we’re talking about here, which is why dosage control is so important. Recreational users have reported “trips” with amounts up to and over 200mg. If you decide you want a recreational drug that will produce a “trip”, you have already read too far here. This isn’t the drug for you. Because this molecule is a serotonergic, it would be very difficult to overdose on it. The one death being attributed to 5-MeO-DALT in the UK involves a man who took it, washed it down with a lot of alcohol, and stumbled out in front of a truck. The coroner ruled it “death by misadventure”. I believe the alcohol played a larger part in his death than the 5-MeO-DALT. But bottom line, we are not talking about recreation here. Only small doses to treat cluster headaches.
Q: I am not into alternative treatments, why should I care about this?
A: The reason you really should care is because this is a patient-driven treatment for cluster headaches. It is a prime example of citizen science, and I truly believe this is where all advances in cluster headache treatments will come from in the future. Whether we’re talking about tryptamine drugs like this, natural remedies, vitamin supplements, or the re-purposing of an existing drug, it is the cluster headache patients who will be doing the research. We have waited for far too long for “somebody” to “do something”, and the fact is that nobody is really working on our problem. At least not as hard as we’d like them to. So as cluster headache patients continue to explore science, conduct experiments, and communicate with each other, it moves all of us closer and closer to a remedy to our pain. So even if you don’t like the thought of 5-MeO-DALT, you should care about the scientific process that has brought us this treatment.
I hope this has helped cut through some of the overly-scientific language that’s been thrown out there about 5-MeO-DALT. Since this facebook group is the largest single group of cluster headache patients, I think this is a good place to continue the discussion. If not here, where? If not us, who?
Source: Mitch Post