For the first time in decades, Canada has granted special permission that allows some people to consume psilocybin, the active ingredient found in magic mushrooms. This psychedelic has been increasingly studied for its potential to help resolve anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. One study, in fact, found that psilocybin helped terminal patients accept their mortality.
Psychedelic compounds are highly scheduled drugs in many countries, with some only granting exceptions for certain religious use and, in more recent years, for research purposes. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has linked psilocybin with a number of potential benefits, it joining other compounds like ibogaine, ayahuasca, cannabis, and MDMA.
Back in 2012, The New York Times published an editorial that caught popular attention — it highlighted research into the use of psilocybin in end-of-life patients to help resolve their anxiety and depression surrounding impending death. Fast-forward several years and the Canadian government has taken action related to this research, granting four terminal patients special permission to consume psilocybin.
The announcement was made by TheraPsil, a self-described ‘coalition of healthcare professionals, patients and advocates dedicated to fighting for the rights of Canadians facing end-of-life distress to have legal access to therapeutic psychedelics.’ Though these drugs remain illegal in Canada, certain exemptions exist.
Canada’s Minister of Health Patty Hajdu has given four Canadians exemptions from the nation’s Drug and Substances Act, allowing them to participate in psychedelic-assisted therapy. This is the first time such exemptions have been granted since the 1970s. All four of the exemption recipients are suffering from terminal cancer; they have waited for more than 100 days to get the permission, having pursued the exemptions with support from TheraPsil.