Medical Exemption For Psilocybin Use in Palliative Care Patients

Four Canadians have been approved for "end-of-life" psilocybin therapy, making it the first such medical exemption to be made in 46 years.

The Canadian Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu has approved psilocybin therapy for four palliative care patients. The legal exemption was made under section 56(1) of the Canadian Drugs & Substances Act (CDSA).

After 100 days of awaiting a response, four Canadians battling terminal cancer became the first to access psychedelic therapy to ease end-of-life-distress.

It is the first medically legal exemption since the compounds prohibition in 1974.

Thomas Hardle, one of the applicants says that this compassionate access is the direct result of "good people" displaying acts of "genuine compassion".

Another applicant, Laurie Brooks shares their gratitude and hope that this will be the first of many exemptions of the therapeutic use of psilocybin to help with the distress in the final days of life.

The endeavour to apply for medical exemption for patients is supported by TheraPsil – a coalition of health care practitioners. The coalition has been advocating for the compassionate access of psychedelic therapy since 2019.

Dr. Bruce Tobin, TheraPsil Founder and Chairman, has congratulated the government representatives for their fighting support for psilocybin access.

We are impressed with their willingness to listen to patients who have not been heard and to shift focus and policy to accommodate their interests and protect their needs. Dr. Bruce Tobin: TheraPsil Founder and Chairman

Dr. Tobin also gave his thanks to "the brave Canadian patients who have been public in their fight for psilocybin access".

While the research into psychedelic assisted-therapy dates back to the 1950s, the ebbs and flows of the compound has only resurfaced in the past two decades.

While it remains illegal for therapeutic and personal use, its clinical data is building a solid foundation for medicinal treatment. Psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds not only give reprieve from existential distress but offer a therapy for addiction and depression. It also allows users to experience a life-altering journey of personal growth within a controlled, safe environment.

Dennis McKenna, an ethnopharmacologist, says that he hopes that psychedelics will follow in the footsteps of cannabis. In turn, breaking into a new paradigm of therapeutic use and medicinal treatment.

"The decriminalisation movements that are going on. . .are very hopeful signs that things are changing," McKenna recently told The Green Fund.

McKenna goes on to say that the legalisation of psychedelics will allow those who seek out its benefits to do so in a safe way. Psychedelic use still occurs despite its prohibition in westernised countries. If decriminalisation occurs the full potential of psychedelics can be utilised while doing minimal harm through access and education.

The recent medical exemption is merely the first step onto a steady road towards support for psychedelic-assisted therapy. While it remains illegal, the compassion for those who are facing their final days are what will guide the future.

It won't happen today, nor tomorrow, but it gives us hope that times are, indeed, changing.

For more information into the work of Dr. Tobin and TheraPsil please click here.

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Taylor Ridewood
Taylor Ridewood

Taylor is a Sydney-based writer with a background in psychology and professional writing. She has a keen interest in the benefits of medicinal cannabis and enjoys researching the multi-faceted effects of cannabis on the body and mind.

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