News Hit:

Canadian doctors are applying to use psilocybin... on themselves

Photo credit: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash

In order to better understand their effects, experts and psychedelic enthusiasts alike believe that physicians who study and intend to administer psychedelic drugs ought to have some personal experience with them.

This week, a non-profit patient advocacy group has announced that it is helping Canadian physicians take the steps to do exactly that.

TheraPsil, the Victoria, B.C.-based group, made the news last month when it announced that it had helped four patients with terminal cancer and treatment-resistant end-of-life distress apply for Section 56 exemptions for compassionate access to psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.

Now, the group is working to help physicians apply for their own exemptions, so they can use psilocybin, the key ingredient in magic mushrooms, as part of their own psychedelic therapy and training.

While the four patients that have applied did so with the support of their MPs and their doctors, only the Minister of Health, Patty Hadju, can authorize exemptions. As of today, those patients have been waiting 71 days for a response from the minister, a wait time TheraPsil says is "a cruelty to people facing an untreatable fatal illness".

“Canadians with a terminal diagnosis, experiencing psychological end-of-life distress, deserve the right to try new therapies that can improve their quality of life and death," said TheraPsil founder Bruce Tobin in a news release last month.

"When a safe and effective therapy involves a prohibited substance, we help patients exercise their rights - to align with science and support those in need.”

According to a recent poll, 59 per cent of Canadians approve of the use of psilocybin for terminally ill patients. A federal petition calling for the decriminalization of plant medicines including psilocybin is currently being circulated.