Why access to psilocybin therapy is still limited despite proven effectiveness

Why Is Ottawa Stalling Proven Magic Mushroom Therapy for the Dying?

After two psilocybin-assisted therapy sessions, a terminal cancer patient, Thomas Hartle, says that “ I can’t emphasize enough how much of my life it has given back. Even months later, it’s much easier for me to be able to clear my head of those useless, anxious thoughts.” While many patients like Hartle are having great success with psilocybin therapy, Canada’s bureaucratic application process is limiting the number of patients who can access it, with 119 exemption applications awaiting review. In order to administer psilocybin therapy effectively, it is crucial that medical professionals experience the drug for themselves, yet only 19 medical professionals have been granted access to it. CEO of TheraPsil, Spencer Hawkswell, says Health Canada is pushing for clinical trials before granting more exemptions, but these trials are incredibly labour-intensive, have strict criteria, and cost millions. Dr. Pam Kryskow of the Canadian Psychedelic Association is advocating to include psychedelic therapy as a palliative care option under Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying legislation, which would allow terminal patients access to psilocybin without going through the slow application process. Krysow believes “that given their safety profile, given their efficacy, given how cheap they are… at this point it’s unethical to not be doing this.”

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