Canada Grants Terminally Ill Patients Permission to Use Magic Mushrooms

August 11, 2020 12:16:11

The Canadian Health Minister has granted a group of four terminally ill cancer patients exemptions to possess and use magic (psilocybin) mushrooms as part of their end-of-life care. This is a landmark decision since it means that these four people will be the first to legally possess and use psilocybin mushrooms since psychedelics were prohibited decades ago.

The patients, through a nonprofit called Therapsil, had submitted their petition to the minister way back in April so that they could be exempted from the country’s laws which bar anyone from possessing and using magic mushrooms. This petition was quickly followed by an online campaign that enlisted support from every concerned Canadian regarding the need to grant these patients the permission they seek on compassionate grounds.

On Tuesday, Patty Hajdu, the Health Minister, granted the wish of the patients, much to the delight of Therapsil and lots of patients undergoing palliative care.

Thomas Hartle, one of the four patients who obtained this landmark exemption, said that the announcement was a positive result which indicated what is possible when people with good intentions assess situations from a compassionate perspective.

A statement from Health Canada, the government agency responsible for regulating controlled substances, revealed that the federal government was committed to assessing each request thoroughly and taking into account all pertinent factors before issuing an exemption to provisions of the Controlled Substances Act in order to protect the safety and health of all Canadians. The agency added that the exemption granted to the four patients doesn’t remove the fact that possessing and selling magic mushrooms is still illegal in the country.

Laurie Brooks, a patient from British Columbia, also wrote a statement thanking the health minister for acknowledging the suffering and anxiety she lives with and granting her permission to use psilocybin mushrooms as part of her therapy. She expressed her hope that a time will soon come when all Canadians have access to psilocybin mushrooms without going through a protracted petition process.

Therapsil revealed that it expected a lot more patients to file petitions for exemptions after the success of these first four cancer patients. The nonprofit was also involved in an application to allow therapists to take psilocybin as a way to understand how these substances work so that those therapists could help their patients better. Health Canada didn’t say anything about this particular petition while it was communicating about the exemption granted to the four patients.

However, the movement to see various psychedelics legalized or at least decriminalized has gathered steam in different jurisdictions, so there is hope that the prohibitionist regulations will gradually be rolled back. This could explain why companies like Cybin Corp. are investing massively in psychedelic R&D.

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