Canada Eases Access to Psychedelic Drugs

Regulators in Canada have made the move to ease access to psychedelic drugs to allow for medical use under certain circumstances.

“There has been emerging scientific evidence supporting potential therapeutic uses for some restricted drugs, most notably psychedelic restricted drugs such as MDMA and psilocybin,” said Health Canada in a posting on the Canada Gazette.

Under the new amendment to federal food and drug regulations, doctors throughout Canada will have the option to request access to restricted psychedelic drugs on behalf of their patients through Health Canada’s Special Access Program.

As noted by High Times, the Special Access Program permits health care professionals to request permission to use unapproved treatments for patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. The program applies only in cases where conventional therapies have failed, are unsuitable, or not available in Canada. Patients are not permitted to request access to treatment through the program on their own behalf.

“Given the growing scientific interest in certain restricted drugs, it is expected that Health Canada would eventually encounter a situation where scientific evidence supports the therapeutic use of a restricted drug within the context of the Special Access Program,” regulators wrote in the January 5 announcement. “The regulatory amendments are therefore expected to benefit patients with serious or life-threatening conditions who may be granted access to restricted drugs through the Special Access Program in instances when other therapies have failed, are unsuitable, or are unavailable in Canada.”

Before Wednesday’s announcement, patients could gain access to psychedelic drugs through two methods: One would be to participate in a clinical trial, and by personally requesting a special exemption to regulations from Canada’s Health Minister.

Regulators stated that “the regulatory amendments will not create large scale access to restricted drugs and they do not signal an intent towards the decriminalization or legalization of restricted drugs. The Special Access Program is for emergency treatment only.”

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