Canada has effectively legalised psilocybin and MDMA for patients with serious mental health disorders.
In what’s been called a “seismic shift” in the fight for legalisation in Canada, amendments to federal regulations mean doctors will be able to prescribe the psychedelic substances to patients suffering from life-threatening mental illnesses.
Psilocybin, the active psychedelic compound found in so-called ‘magic’ mushrooms, has been permitted for use in palliative (end of life) care in Canada for a number of years.
However, along with MDMA, psilocybin will now be available to patients where therapy either hasn’t worked or isn’t suitable.
Both drugs will be accessible by prescription through what’s known as the Special Access Program and, according to physicians, will only be used “in a controlled, individualized fashion” under “conventional supervised therapy”.
The win for patients comes after first being proposed in late 2020, when it caused much debate. Despite these debates around the topic, the public response was overwhelmingly supportive of the move.
“There has been emerging scientific evidence supporting potential therapeutic uses for some restricted drugs, most notably psychedelic restricted drugs such as MDMA and psilocybin,” the Canadian Government’s press release stated published by The Canada Gazette.
The release also noted that current treatment options for many mental health disorders are “limited, relatively ineffective and/or accompanied by negative side effects.”
This momentous step in psychedelic medicine will provide much needed data for other countries around the world to potentially follow suit in the future.