The long-tail of pain & how psychedelics can alleviate intense suffering
Have we been thinking about pain all wrong?
And can we use psychedelics to alleviate extreme suffering?
This is why @algekalipso of @QualiaRI thinks we should think of logarithmic — not linear — scales when thinking about pain — and pleasure
Think about your happiest moment, that 10 out of 10. Was it just a bit better than a 9?
No, it was probably a few orders of magnitude better (Andres estimates 4.5x)
The same goes for pain. Being stung by a bullet ant is orders of magnitude more painful than a small bee
Instead of thinking of pain & pleasure on a linear scale from -10 to +10, think of each number higher/lower being 4.5x more intense
A cluster headache, rated at -10, is thus 2000x more painful than chronic back pain, rated at -5
For a deeper dive 👇
Andres argues that psychedelics can do two things
- Elicit intensely pleasurable experiences (MDMA, LSD, 5-MeO-DMT)
- Prevent extreme painful experiences (cluster headaches)
The research is in its infancy, but if true it could reduce suffering on an enormous scale
Just like there is a log scale in pleasure & pain, a small number of those experiencing cluster headaches experience the most
What if the application of DMT — at a dose below hallucinogenic effects — could help stop a cluster headache?
Cluster Headache Frequency Follows a Long-Tail Distribution - EA Forum
Warning: Disturbing content ahead. Why talk about it? This is an ethically very serious topic and it deserves more…
That is what — again, early-stage — research has found:
“A survey of members of online cluster headache forums revealed that 68% of respondents who used tryptamines had a 4 or 5 out of 5 relief. 5 indicates “completely eliminated the cluster headaches”. “
“If I’m starting to experience a [cluster headache] and I vaporise as little as 3mgs [of DMT, sub psychoactive], I feel the pain subside almost completely within 3 to 5 seconds, and it doesn’t come back for a few days.”
Treating Cluster Headaches Using N,N-DMT and Other Tryptamines
by Quintin Frerichs To extend this recent EA Forum Post, I wanted to share the results of Qualia Research Institute's…
At the moment, most people with cluster headaches don’t have access to psychedelics — and are unaware that it might help alleviate their extreme suffering (Andres estimates it will work for >70%)
Both QRI and @Cluster_buster are working on changing that
TL;DR: Pain — and pleasure — are not linear but fall on a logarithmic scale
Psychedelics can relieve extreme suffering from cluster headaches
Advocacy & research could be an immensely effective opportunity to do good
Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog