By Roland Sebestyén
In a groundbreaking move, Canada will soon allow the use of psychedelics as a possible treatment for a wide range of health conditions, the Health Department announced.
While psychedelics have been used under an exemption granted by Health Canada, which is the department of the Government of Canada responsible for national health policy, for a while, more patients will now be able to access psychedelics for their medical needs.
David Harder, who operates the ATMA Calgary Urban Journey Centre, told the Herald that the new regulation will open psychedelics up “beyond palliative care.”
Harder said: “It’s a seismic shift in the level of legalisation in Canada. They’ve been shifted from an illegal drug to a prescribable medicine.”
Psychedelic drugs have been found to have significant potential in managing and treating mental health conditions such as depression, PTSD, and addiction.
Many theorise that the reported benefits and mood uplift experienced by many users of psychedelics may be down to the placebo effect. However, there is growing evidence to support the efficacy of the substances for a range of applications.
The change to federal regulations through the Special Access Program makes restricted drugs like psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) and MDMA more realistic alternatives to patients suffering from serious mental illnesses and mental health problems who have exhausted other options.
While the change is being hailed as a massive step forward, doctors will still decide on a patient-by-patient basis whether psychedelic products are an appropriate option.
Dr Robert Tanguay, who operates Calgary’s Newly Institute, added: “(Health Canada) sees the data and how it clearly shows it’s improving and enhancing people’s mental health.
“It’s a movement to legalisation, which is fantastic. If there’s ever been a more exciting time in psychotherapy, it was decades ago.
“Health Canada’s amendment takes it out of the hands of regulators and into the hands of physicians who have the best interests of patients.
“[But he new system] remains on a “case-by-case application basis, which is frustrating.
“Psychedelics like psilocybin dismantle psychological barriers erected by patients suffering from conditions like PTSD or depression.
“They have pretty powerful properties similar to anti-depressant medication. They break down the ego, enabling you to step back and see what’s going on.”