In a landmark decision, four Canadians ailing from terminal illnesses will now get psilocybin therapy to cure their anxiety. This marks the first time that a legal exemption has been given in Canada for patients to access psychedelic substances for treatment. On Tuesday, TheraPsil indicated that Health Minister Patty Hajdu had permitted the request.
Thomas Hartle, in the press release, stated that he would like to express his gratitude to the Hon Minister Hajdu and the team at the Office of Controlled Substances for the endorsement of his section 56 exemption.
His 52-year-old’s anxiety about the end of his life was making his current days unbearable. His anti-anxiety medication didn’t have the effect he needed it to, and this compelled him and three other Canadians with the same diagnoses towards psilocybin. The drug is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound. In people getting palliative care because of a terminal diagnosis, it has the potential to provide long-term relief for mental health struggles like anxiety and depression.
Currently, there are clinical trials to evaluate if the drug should be released on the market as a prescription medication from the U.S. Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
According to Health Canada’s website, the drug is illegal in Canada as there are no permitted therapeutic products containing psilocybin. These regulations meant Hartle and the other applicants had to apply for exclusion on a sympathetic basis to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to get access to the drug. Hartle stated after the decision that he was happy to hear it. He noted that he had doubts that it would go as well as it had, but the Minister had really shown that she was ready to stand behind her words when she spoke about the importance of mental health.
Laurie Brooks, one of the other three applicants, stated in the press statement that she was “feeling quite emotional” after getting the good news and she hoped that the doors for access might be a little more open for other people. She added that the acknowledgment of the pain and anxiety that she had been suffering means a lot to her. Laurie is hoping that soon all Canadians will be able to access psilocybin, for therapeutic use, and this is just the beginning.
Dr. Bruce Tobin also indicated that they are overwhelmed by their enthusiasm to listen to patients who have not been heard and to change attention and policy to accommodate their interests and protect their needs. Nevertheless, he indicated that it had taken a long time. Tobin is the founder of TheraPsil and a psychotherapist, and professor at the University of Victoria. He concluded that Canadians now have the right to die, and this was lawfully acknowledged in the medical assistance in dying legislation that came in a few years ago.