Health Canada has cleared some healthcare professionals that include doctors and therapists to start using psilocybin mushrooms in treating patients allowed to use psychedelic drugs. The approval comes four months after Health Canada approved psilocybin use in palliative care patients to relieve end-of-life pain.
Health Canada allows therapists and doctors to possess and consume psilocybin
In a recent interview Canada’s Health Minister, Patty Hajdu said that healthcare professionals could consume and possess psilocybin mushrooms. This seems to be the first public indication from the ministry regarding pending psilocybin use applications. In the summer Hadju’s office had approved the use of psychedelics for psychotherapy in end-of-life care patients. At the time there were doubts whether a similar approval could follow allowing therapists to use psilocybin. Since the first approval, there have been other exemptions on the use of psilocybin.
According to a statement for Health Canada, there is growing research and studies in psychedelics such as psilocybin. Although psilocybin is not an approved therapeutic substance, increased scientific research and studies have demonstrated its safety and efficacy. However, the exemptions do not allow the healthcare professional to provide or prescribe psilocybin mushrooms to others. Currently, there are no Health Canada-approved drugs containing psilocybin and the move to grant exemption doesn’t endorse uses of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.
Exemptions for healthcare professionals to test psilocybin
The Health Minister said that she is delighted that Health Canada has granted exemptions to some healthcare professionals that wanted to possess and consume psilocybin. Hadju described the move as controversial to some but the professionals prescribing the therapy wanted to get insight on how patients will feel when they receive the treatment. The Minister’s office has the power to grant exemptions giving immunity to individuals against controlled substances.
It is important to note that psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin have been in the spotlight partly because of the fight against substance abuse. TheraPsil Medical Director and Tillsonburg doctor, Sean Sullivan said that the move was huge considering there is evidence from studies suggesting a potential benefit to psilocybin. He said that psilocybin should not be criminalized because of its potential benefits.