TORONTO – PsyCan, the trade association for the legal Canadian psychedelic medicine and therapy sector, is cautiously optimistic about recently announced rules governing the use of psychedelic drugs for people in therapy by the government of Alberta. However, PsyCan believes that good government policy cannot be created in a vacuum.
“PsyCan exists to inform effective and evidence-based regulations,” said Nick Kadysh, Board Chair of Psychedelics Canada. “This step by Alberta is an acknowledgement that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAP) is a valuable tool to treat Canadians suffering from a variety of health conditions. This decision is further validation of decades of research showing psychedelics can effectively address some the most intractable mental health problems we face as a society, especially compared to current standards of care.”
However, PsyCan’s enthusiasm for this decision is tempered by practical concerns about both the limited consultative process that led to these regulations, and the resulting impacts they will subsequently have on patient access to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. While the association applauds the initiative, we note that consultation with the sector appears to have been extremely limited. We’re also concerned that the regulations rely heavily on psychiatrists, while excluding any other qualified health care providers (such as anesthesiologists, neurologists, and general practitioners specializing in pain, mental health or substance use disorder) from prescribing and overseeing treatments, particularly regarding psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for chronic pain and neurological conditions. This could significantly impact access, and potentially lead to critically and chronically ill Canadians to seek psychedelic therapies via the black market or unregulated outlets.
PsyCan also believes that the public must be aware these regulations do not reduce barriers to access psychedelic medicines as supply chains are federally controlled. Patients should understand that access to most psychedelics is currently restricted to clinical trials or authorization under the Special Access Program.
“This is just the beginning,” added Liam Bedard, Coordinator of Psychedelics Canada. “We agree with Alberta that psychedelic medicine and therapy shows incredible promise, and we stand ready to assist Alberta and all other provinces and territories, in designing regulations that put patient safety first while ensuring safe, legal access. This will be an ongoing process, guided by science, and pursued in the interest of Canadian patients.”
(This information is primarily sourced from Psychedelics Canada. Highly Capitalized has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this news release. Read our Disclaimer here).