The decision by Canada to enable clinicians to seek limited psychedelic medicines for patients as part of their psychotherapy is a step forward in the transformation of mental health care. Ingesting consciousness-altering chemicals such as psilocybin, ketamine, LSD, or MDMA in a therapeutic context as part of more standard psychotherapy is known as psychedelic aided therapy. Requests for a “severe or life-threatening ailment” if other conventional therapies have failed, are unsuitable for the patient, or are not accessible in Canada will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, according to Canadian officials. Just as well, the Canadian government is starting to allow the use of psilocybin as a treatment for depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental disorders. This is a significant step toward decriminalizing psilocybin and allowing it to be used as a normal drug or therapy for mental illnesses.
In this article, we will explain exactly what Canada plans to allow in terms of psilocybin as a treatment for depression, PTSD, and anxiety.
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Canada Provides Access to Psilocybin for Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD Treatment
To better grasp how the psilocybin medical treatment landscape is changing in Canada, it helps to understand the current and past laws associated with magic mushroom use in Canada.
The History of Magic Mushroom Laws in Canada
The primary component in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, was prohibited in Canada in 1974, but recent experiments have indicated that it may be an effective treatment for severe depression, PTSD, and other mental health issues.
Mushroom spore kits are lawful and widely available in stores and on the internet since the spores and kits do not contain psilocybin/psilocin. As schedule III substances under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, psilocybin and psilocin are prohibited to possess, obtain, or create without a license or exemption.
Although there are online dispensaries that offer microdoses to Canadians, these platforms are illegal under Canadian law. A resolution to expand enforcement measures against the selling of magic mushrooms was defeated by the Vancouver council in September 2019. Exemptions for medical and scientific purposes are being sought under CDSA Section 56.
In 2020, eleven end-of-life patients, perhaps including the first non-palliative patient, were granted an exemption to seek psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to help them cope with anxiety and depression. The Ministry of Health granted 16 health professionals authorization to use psilocybin to assist in the development of future medicines in 2020. (We’ll go over this in more detail later in this article.)
Exemptions for the use of psilocybin therapy as a treatment for mental health disorders were approved in 2021. Physicians will be able to seek access to psychedelics on behalf of patients with significant or life-threatening medical illnesses, according to Canadian health authorities.
Understanding How Psilocybin Works in the Brain
Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms or shrooms, are a unique collection of fungi that contain psilocybin, which when consumed transforms into psilocin. Psilocybin mushrooms have long been employed in religious, divinatory, and spiritual contexts by indigenous New World societies. Recreational consumption and use of psilocybin mushrooms is quite common, though it is illegal in most countries.
The medication has the potential to operate as a therapeutic catalyst. A single dosage of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can be equivalent to numerous sessions of psychotherapy on its own, and this session can bring up severe issues and provide patients with remarkable insights.
The combination of psilocybin with other medicines is crucial to its efficacy. The following is a typical workflow in clinical trials and patient sessions: The patient meets with a therapist to build trust and discuss their objectives, after which the therapist administers the psilocybin and remains with the patient during the experience, which can last several hours. Following that, the patient meets with the therapist for further sessions that are not drug-free.
Any psychological disease makes it more difficult to break free from that thinking over time, and it can hijack a person’s sense of self. Psilocybin permits people to take a step back from their internal narrative and examine what else is possible.
Because psilocybin can assist improve someone’s drive to modify their behavior, which is one of the most difficult components of treatment, there may be promise in utilizing it to help individuals recover from addictive drugs like alcohol.
Though additional study is needed to validate psilocybin’s safety, the investigations that have been conducted thus far have proven it to be safe in general. In some people, psilocybin might cause unpleasant but minor side effects such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, anxiety, tiredness, or overresponsive reflexes. Taking psilocybin with the guidance of a therapist can help with this. Therapists can assist patients in anticipating and responding to probable side effects, as well as guiding them through the process if they arise.
The Canadian Government is Changing
Psilocybin for Palliatic Care
A proportion of end-of-life patients will be allowed to utilize psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to help them cope with anxiety and sadness starting in 2020. The contentious proposal raised several valid concerns: it may merely allow access to banned medications for recreational purposes, and it could be difficult for dying patients to go through the application procedure to receive this therapy before their lives ended. Nonetheless, this action is a positive start in the right direction. Although it has taken a long time, the Canadian government’s willingness to listen to patients who have been ignored and to adjust emphasis and policy to accommodate and defend their needs is admirable.
Magic mushroom cultivation, possession, or sale is still unlawful under this exemption unless it’s for a therapeutic study or research.
Treatment Development with Psilocybin
Later in 2020, sixteen different health professionals received permission from the Canadian Ministry of Health to use psilocybin to help develop treatments and therapies for future use. This piggybacked off of the palliative law changes surrounding psilocybin in Canada.
Health Canada has cleared the door for more than a dozen health professionals to take psilocybin themselves to assist develop therapies for future use, four months after allowing a handful of palliative care patients to use the psychedelic substance to reduce end-of-life agony. According to Health Canada, sixteen exemptions have been given to a group of nurses, physicians, therapists, and social workers, allowing them to carry and use psilocybin for personal training without risk of being prosecuted under the country’s drug laws. Other exemptions have been granted to patients who want to utilize magic mushrooms after the 2020 announcement. The exemptions for health professionals will allow persons who wish to take psilocybin to have a sense of how it feels and how to use it safely. Psychiatrists affiliated with the University of Toronto, a community psychiatrist in Hamilton and his partner, as well as health professionals in Calgary and British Columbia, have all been granted exemptions.
Psilocybin as a Treatment for Mental Health Conditions
The most recent development in Canadian law in the context of medical psilocybin use is definitely the most promising thus far.
Exemptions were granted in 2021 for the use of psilocybin therapy as a treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. The ministry of health has granted an exception to three individuals who have petitioned the federal government to utilize psilocybin therapy as a treatment for their mental health concerns. The first four patient exemptions were approved by Canada’s health minister in August 2020, but other exemptions were sluggish to materialize.
Mona Strelaeff is a passionate proponent of the legislative reform and a psilocybin exemption recipient. In an interview with Vice, Strelaeff revealed that she had been granted an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, allowing her to ingest mushrooms to address continuing trauma. Strelaeff stated in the interview that she had battled anxiety, sadness, and addiction for years. She mentioned during her psilocybin therapy that she went back to when she was a child and experienced the trauma that caused her to develop many mental health issues as an adult. Strelaeff was similarly depressed after being diagnosed with breast cancer years ago. Some of the anguish she experienced was tied to her sickness, while others originated from suppressed childhood memories. Psilocybin treatment allowed her to address underlying trauma in a manner that standard therapists were unable to.
Strelaeff remarked of her psilocybin use, “I conquered those tough memories.”
The legal reforms in Canada are mostly due to scientific studies that support psilocybin as a therapy for mental health disorders, rather than public pressure. Psilocybin has showed promise in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and PTSD in recent clinical studies.
It’s no secret that suicide and depression are serious public health issues. Our existing treatments aren’t as successful as we’d like them to be. Suicide is becoming more common. Novel and effective depression therapies are desperately needed. Multiple studies have confirmed that psilocybin is an effective therapy for mental disorders.
According to findings from a 2020 study, psilocybin may be useful in a substantially larger number of people suffering from serious depression than previously thought. According to studies published in 2016, psilocybin can dramatically and swiftly reduce feelings of despair, anxiety, and depression in cancer patients, as well as benefit persons with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder.
The Future of Psilocybin Medical Use in Canada
Dr. Nathan Sackett, acting assistant professor in the UW School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Anthony Back are currently working on a study with others from the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence to see if psilocybin can help front-line healthcare workers who have been experiencing burnout as a result of the pandemic. One reason psilocybin has the potential to cure mental illness, according to Dr. Sackett, is the powerful mind- and perception-altering experiences it may generate. It’s also why he and other doctors are researching the drug’s potential application in mental health therapy. The group is still recruiting pateients for their clinical trials of psychadelic-assisted therapy for healthcare workers, particularly front-line workers who were working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to this potential clinical study, the Canadian government has also made big changes for psilocybin use in 2022. Earlier in 2022, Canada’s health officials stated that doctors will be able to seek access to psychedelics (including psilocybin) on behalf of patients with significant medical issues. Drug restrictions are being changed as a result of new research into the therapeutic advantages of psychedelics, according to Health Canada. Because there is growing scientific evidence supporting psilocybin’s potential therapeutic applications, the Canadian government is considering loosening drug regulations for the medicinal use of magic mushrooms. Physicians will be allowed to seek access to prohibited pharmaceuticals on behalf of their patients through Health Canada’s Special Access Program, thanks to changes to federal food and drug legislation. Restricted medications, such as psychedelics, were previously unavailable through the program. For patients with significant or life-threatening medical illnesses, the Special Access Program allows health care providers to request approval to utilize unapproved therapies.
This is fantastic news for anyone who desires to utilize psilocybin for medicinal purposes in Canada.
We hope you have enjoyed this information. Don’t forget to take a look at our collection of Mushroom Spore Syringes and mushroom spores for sale at Hidden Forest to start your microscopic research today.