Advocates Worried by Insufficiency of Information on Psychedelic Treatments in Nova Scotia

January 27, 2021 15:19:09

Justin Andrews, co-founder of Halifax Psychedelic Society, a not-for-profit organization providing a safe space to connect and talk about psychedelics, is concerned that information on harm minimization strategies with regard to psychedelics is not being treated as a priority in Nova Scotia.

Andrews assisted in the establishment of the organization in 2018. The objective of the organization was to offer harm-reduction information and a support system to individuals who would be interested in using psychedelic substances such as LSD and psilocybin as a therapeutic treatment.

In this respect, harm-minimization strategies would comprise information about how to consume the psychedelic substances properly. This may also include how to prepare the said drug as well as dosage levels. In addition, it could also include insights on how to manage a “bad trip”, or a disagreeable experience that is usually set off by hallucinogenic drugs.

Andrews explained that while it wasn’t until 2016 that he began taking interest in psychotherapy using psychedelics, harm minimization had always been a priority.

Both the society and Andrews are supportive of the legal use of psychedelic substances in psychotherapy. Andrews explained that he had observed a surge in interest from individuals who sought out information about the use of psychedelics. This, he said, was the reason why it was important to have harm-reduction resources available to individuals in Nova Scotia.

Additionally, Andrews observed that there was an increasing trend in underground therapy. With people excited about the healing potential of psychedelics, it was important to emphasize the need for individuals to know and understand the policy and politics behind psychedelics.

At the moment, the Nova Scotia Health Authority does not provide any harm-minimization information on psychedelics except when it’s included in a treatment plan for addiction.

Society president Jeff Toth, who is also a psychiatric nurse, explained that recent studies have discovered the therapeutic benefits of various psychedelics such as MDMALSD and psilocybin and how they can be used to treat addiction, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder. However, he added that more research was required as the evidence that had been gathered till now was regarded as preliminary evidence.

A study that was conducted by the “British Journal of Psychiatry” categorized Canada as the country with the highest PTSD prevalence of the 24 nations involved in the study.

However, it seems a lot more will be required for NSHA to start providing harm-minimization literature. NSHA’s mental health and addictions department stated in an email that the Nova Scotia Health Authority had no plans to release harm-minimization literature on the therapeutic use of psychedelics as it had not encountered a high demand for that information thus far.

As research into psychedelics advances, many companies are positioning themselves to tap the growing market. For instance, Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (OTC: CLXPF) is developing unique systems to deliver psychedelic medicines for a variety of therapeutic indications.

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