Canada Is Allowing People With Depression To Do Psychedelic Mushrooms
A 67-year old woman has been given permission to take psychedelic mushrooms to manage her anxiety and depression, despite not being terminally ill.
Psilocybin is the active ingredient in mushrooms and is illegal to possess, sell and produce in Canada. However, the government has started allowing exemptions.
Mona Strelaeff, from Victoria, Canada, was granted an exemption from the country’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to treat childhood trauma.
Strelaeff told Vice:
During my psilocybin therapy, I went deep, way back to when I was a little girl and all those things that happened to me. All the unresolved trauma, it came back and I was beyond terrified, shaking uncontrollably, and crying, however with my therapist, I conquered those tough memories.
Earlier this year, Health Canada granted exemptions to people with terminal illnesses, allowing them to possess and consume the drug. Now, shrooms are being used in therapy to treat depression, as in Strelaeff’s case.
The news comes shortly after US state Oregon voted to legalise the use of psychedelic mushrooms in therapy, and Washington voted to decriminalise the drug earlier this month.
TheraPsil, a non-profit that advocates for access to psilocybin therapy in people who are terminally ill, said it has been ‘inundated with requests’ since August.
Some of these are from healthy doctors and therapists who want to take psilocybin for the purposes of training.
In a statement published earlier today, November 17, TheraPsil said ‘Mona’s exemption represents a historic moment in Canada and a groundbreaking progressive decision by Health Canada to broaden the class of patients who can access this treatment option, thus further enshrining the rights of Canadians’.
Bruce Tobin, a clinical psychologist with TheraPsil, administered Strelaeff’s treatment on November 5, after clinical research showed that it could help treat depression, anxiety and PTSD.
Strelaeff said she had suffered from ‘an extreme sense of despair and depression’ while in remission from breast cancer. She was diagnosed 12 years ago but has since recovered.
While some of her trauma was related to the illness, some stemmed from her childhood.
The use of psilocybin therapy is gaining traction. In October, UK-based psychedelic medicine company Compass Pathways reported that it now had a market value of $1.3 billion.
The company’s main source of business is using a patented form of psilocybin to treat a range of illnesses, including depression.
In Canada, TheraPsil told Vice that it intends to launch its first legal training programme for doctors and therapists, teaching them how to practice psychedelic therapy.
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