Unprecedented new polling shows 78% of Canadians would support a government that legalized psilocybin therapy. Now is the time to work together in a collaborative effort with the Canadian Government to bring regulatory change to Health Canada.
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Helping Canadians in need
After in-depth polling showing Canadians overwhelmingly in support of amendments to psilocybin therapy regulations, the Psychedelic Association of Canada (PAC), in collaboration with industry, non-profit, medical, research and legal experts are uniting to work collaboratively with Health Canada to achieve psilocybin therapy regulations by March 31st, 2022.
The Research Backs it • The Public Supports It • The Patients Demand It
Our Submission To Health Canada
The Canadian Psychedelic Association has submitted a Memorandum of Regulatory Analysis (MORA) to Health Canada. The MORA provides a detailed framework for the regulation of psilocybin therapy for the purpose of providing legally controlled access and to enable psilocybin to be approved for medical use, while protecting the health and safety of Canadians in need.
We are encouraged by the conversations with officials at Health Canada to date and look at this as a powerful first step in further developing a constructive working relationship as we continue to advocate for these changes to the legal framework governing psychedelic therapy.
Canadians are asking for change
The Canadian public is overwhelmingly in favour of new psilocybin therapy regulations.
National polling numbers show the need for change and support for suffering Canadians :
- 78% of Canadians would support or somewhat support a government that legalized mushroom-based psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to improve the quality of life for palliative and end-of-life patients.
- 82% of Canadians approve the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy for people suffering from palliative and end-of-life illness. Only 4% disapprove, for a net favourability score of +78.
- 68% of Canadians agree or somewhat agree that they are open to allowing Canadians to legally access this treatment as part of their therapy. Only 7% disagree, for a net favourability score of +61.
The Science Supports Access
Academic research indicates that psilocybin-assisted therapy is effective in treating depression, anxiety, and end-of-life distress. Here are some of the most recent clinical studies showing strong efficacy for psilocybin treatment
Adults who microdose psychedelics report health related motivations and lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to non-microdosers
Decreased Brain Modularity After Psilocybin Therapy For Depression
Trial of Psilocybin Versus Escitalopram For Depression
Exploratory Controlled Study of the Migraine-Suppressing Effects of Psilocybin
Effects of Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy on Major Depressive Disorder
Long-Term Follow-up of Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy for Psychiatric and Existential Distress in Patients With Life-Threatening Cancer
Increased amygdala responses to emotional faces after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression
Psilocybin With Psychological Support For Treatment-Resistant Depression: Six-Month Follow-up
Clinical Potential of Psilocybin as a Treatment For Mental Health Conditions
Acute, Subacute and Long-Term Subjective Effects of Psilocybin in Healthy Humans: a Pooled Analysis of Experimental Studies
Pilot study of psilocybin treatment for anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer
Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence: A proof-of-concept study
Characterization and prediction of acute and sustained response to psychedelic psilocybin in a mindfulness group retreat
Canada Supports Campaign In The Media
Roots to Thrive
First legal Psilocybin Mushroom group therapy treatment for nine end-of life-patients
The Role of Psychedelics in Medicine: Historical Context and Current Clinical Applications
CPA Submits Memorandum for Medical Psilocybin Use to Canadian Health Minister
Canadians Overwhelmingly Support Legal Access to Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy, Poll Reveals
New poll shows a strong base of Canadians overwhelmingly support controlled legal access to psilocybin-assisted therapy; Canadian Psychedelic Association responds with Memorandum of Regulatory Approval (MORA)
Four In Five Canadians Support Legalizing Psilocybin For Therapeutic Use, New Poll Finds
In Canada, End-of-Life Therapy May Be the Path to Legal Psilocybin
Majority of Canadians Support Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy, According to New Poll
New Poll Confirms Canadians Want Medical Psilocybin
Political Party Response
We sent a questionnaire to all political parties in Canada. Here are their responses:
The Liberal Party of Canada believes in following the advice of medical experts to protect the health and safety of Canadians. We would consult with Health Canada officials and other medical experts on the potential of allowing psilocybin mushrooms for medical and/or mental health treatment in therapy centres and follow the guidance of health experts on this issue.
- Liberal Party of Canada
New Democrats are encouraged by the expanding evidence base confirming the safety and benefits of psychedelic therapies, particularly for palliative and end-of-lifecare, as well as those suffering with treatment-resistant depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
To date, the federal government has only authorized patient access to psilocybin assisted therapy on a case-by-case basis. This approach is arbitrary and inconsistent. It’s particularly inappropriate to force palliative care patients to wait for months hoping to receive a decision from the Minister of Health.
New Democrats believe that therapy should be accessible through the authorization of health care professionals, not through case-by-case exemptions granted by elected officials. We support safe and equitable patient access to psychedelic therapy in Canada.
Furthermore, a New Democratic government will adopt a fully-health based approach to substance use in Canada. That means moving towards a consistent framework for regulating substances through evidence-based assessments of their risks and benefits. This would align with the advice of Canada’s leading public health experts, including the federal government’s Expert Task Force on Substance Use.
Canada's New Democrats
There are not currently any approved therapeutic products containing psilocybin in Canada, however, there is research looking at the potential of psilocybin to treat various mental health disorders.
According to the Government of Canada Clinical Trials Database there are two clinical trials that have been authorized in Canada, currently.
Health Canada advises that clinical trials are the most appropriate and effective way to advance research with unapproved drugs such as psilocybin, and that they ensure that the best interests of patients are protected and that a product is administered in accordance with national and international ethical, medical, and scientific standards. Clinical trials also provide important information on the safety of a drug and whether it may be an effective treatment option for patients.
I believe it important to see the results of these clinical trials before Canada makes any policy decisions on approval of therapeutic products containing psilocybin in Canada.
However, I can assure you that Canada’s Conservatives consider the mental health of Canadians’ as a top priority. Mental health is health and should be treated as such, and we need a plan. That’s why we will introduce the Canada Mental Health Action Plan that will:
- Propose to the provinces that they partner with us by dedicating a significant portion of the stable, predictable health funding to mental health to ensure that an additional million Canadians can receive mental health treatment every year;
- Encourage employers to add mental health coverage to their employee benefit plans by offering a tax credit for 25% of the cost of additional mental health coverage for the first three years;
- Create a pilot program to provide $150 million over three years in grants to non-profits and charities delivering mental health and wellness programming; and
- Create a nationwide three-digit suicide prevention hotline
Thank you again for writing to me.
I hope I can count on your support on Election Day.
Conservative Candidate for Banff-Airdrie
The Green Party is calling for a shift to the regulation of drugs using an evidence-based public health approach to harms and benefits. We support the use of the UK model here in Canada, given the rapidly growing body of evidence that psilocybin therapy provides therapeutic benefits with extremely low risk. It has been used safely to treat people suffering from addictions, common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as for end of life care. Major research institutions are involved in this research, including John Hopkins University, Yale University, the University of Toronto, and others.
The Green Party has long been calling on the federal government to improve access to mental health and addictions care. Controlled, legal access to psilocybin therapy should be part of our system. Research shows that psilocybin therapy is a promising method to treat patients suffering from mental health issues and addictions, as well as terminally ill patients.
We commend the government’s decision last year to start approving psilocybin-assisted therapy on a case-by-case basis for terminally ill patients. This is a step in the right direction. However, we know there is now a backlog of patients who have waited months for approval. Currently, approvals are made at the discretion of the Minister of Health. A controlled legal pathway would ensure safety and predictability in accessing psilocybin therapy, and would put decision-making into the hands of medical professionals instead of elected officials.
Green MPs have been advocating for expanded access to psilocybin therapy. We have written to the Minister of Health in support of specific case-by-case requests for access, on the recommendation of clinical therapists. Our caucus has also written to the Minister of Health calling for more permanent measures to grant medical professionals access to psilocybin treatment options. More broadly, the Green Party is calling for a shift away from the criminalization of drugs towards a public health approach and decriminalization.
Sacramental and medicinal plants have been used for millennia by Indigenous cultures for healing. Criminalizing Indigenous peoples’ use of traditional medicines with psychoactive ingredients is part of Canada’s colonial legacy that sought to destroy Indigenous cultures and ways of life.
Greens support the use of traditional medicines by Indigenous peoples in Canada. As MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Paul Manly sponsored parliamentary petition e-2534, signed by almost 15,000 Canadians, calling for the decriminalization of psychoactive plants and fungi that have traditionally been used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes by Indigenous peoples.
Controlled, legal access to psilocybin therapy should be accompanied by provisions that allow treatment in therapy centres under medical supervision. We also need to increase the knowledge and awareness of medical professionals to counsel patients on psilocybin therapies in a comprehensive and safe manner.
Health Canada should be working with the leading experts to help guide the path forward on psilocybin therapies. Moreover, Health Canada should be including the lived experiences of patients who are seeking access to psilocybin therapies, as well as those who have received these treatments for various health issues.
Green Party of Canada
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Dr. Elizabeth Plant
Dr. Sunil K. Aggarwal
MD, PhD, FAAPMR, AIMS Clinic Seattle
M.Ed, R.C.C., Roots To Thrive Therapist
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Dr. Anthony Giordano
Dr. Jenna Creaser
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Dr. Ravi Bains
MD Psychiatry, Wayfound Physician
MD, ABFP, CCFP (PC), Aberdeen Hospital, NS
Dr. D.J. Cook
MD, PhD, FRCS(C), Queen's University
Dr. Robyn Grobler
KGK Science Inc.
Kapoose Creek Wellness
Dr. Michael Ocana
MD, MPH, CCFP(SEM), Dip Sport Med, University of Toronto & The Toronto Blue Jays
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Pledge Your Support For Canadians In Need
We have the opportunity to make history and contribute to a new paradigm where Canada inspires the world through its approach to treating mental health.
Empowered by the patients in need and supported by our expert alliance of medical, research, legal, First Nations and Indigenous advisors, we’re motivated to bring timely and effective change to Canadians at end-of-life and those suffering from various treatment-resistant mental health conditions.
Will you join us?
Make A Donation
Your contribution will help us drive regulatory change, create educational content and raise public awareness around psilocybin-assisted therapy. Every dollar counts and will go a long way to helping us create history, and provide access to life-enhancing therapies to Canadians in need.
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