Did Canada just legalize Psychedelic therapy?
Psychedelic therapies, such as psilocybin therapy for depression and MDMA therapy for PTSD, could soon be legal in Canada, at least for some patients. Over the holidays, Health Canada, a regulatory body similar to the FDA made a change to something called their Special Access Program (SAP). This program, before the change, allowed doctors to request a drug to treat a patient even if the drug wasn't approved for treatment in Canada. However, doctors were not allowed to request a “restricted” drug, a category that most psychedelics fell under.
Now, under the change, which will take effect on January 5th, doctors will be able to request restricted drugs as well, meaning that on a case by case basis, patients could be prescribed psychedelic therapies such as MDMA assisted psychotherapy to treat PTSD, and psilocybin assisted therapy to treat depression.
To be clear, a request can only be made if other treatments have already failed for the patient, and there is evidence that the experimental treatment may be effective. This latter bar probably limits the decision to include just psilocybin and MDMA as these are the only psychedelics that have passed latter-stage clinical trials.
So did Canada just legalize psychedelic therapy? Well, the answer is murky, but leaning to the no side. The number of patients that will be accepted under this rule change is likely going to be few, though we don't yet know. If thousands or tens of thousands of people are approved through this, then Canada may have backdoored the legalization of psychedelic therapy, but I do not think that this is how the regulations are going to be interpreted. In the end, though, we are just going to have to wait and see how the rule changes are applied.
Hopefully, this decision will help thousands of people with their mental health struggles.
#Psychedelics #CanadaNews #MDMA
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