“The New Cannabis” – Psilocybin As A Medicinal Therapy In Canada

The active element in magic mushrooms, sometimes known as the “new cannabis,” is psilocybin. As public corporations and investors become more interested in this chemical, activity relating to psilocybin has increased in Canada’s capital markets. Proponents point to studies that show psilocybin has potential as a therapy for various mental diseases. While the findings are encouraging, psilocybin is still a strictly restricted chemical in Canada. Here, we discuss the present state of psilocybin in Canada, as well as our predictions for the future of this burgeoning sector.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of psilocybin?

According to recent studies, psilocybin can treat a variety of mental diseases. Suicide, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcoholism, cigarette cessation, and post-traumatic stress disorder are only a few examples. According to studies, psilocybin can help patients address concerns and thoughts that are ordinarily too distressing with the support of experienced therapists. This continuing study aims to determine the short- and long-term psychological consequences of psilocybin consumption.

The potential use of psilocybin for alleviating end-of-life suffering in palliative patients has received much attention in Canada. When standard therapy alternatives fail for terminally sick patients, as they frequently do, proponents see psilocybin as giving alleviation from mental pain. This interest in psilocybin as a therapy also includes the possibility of using it to help grieving people.

Why is the usage of psilocybin banned in most circumstances today, given its potential benefits?

As public awareness of mental illness rises, Canadian health officials and academics are paying more attention to psilocybin as a potential therapy for many mental diseases. This hasn’t always been the case, though.

Psilocybin is a psychoactive substance. Psychedelics, or hallucinogens, are psychoactive chemicals that alter perception, emotion, and cognitive processes. Psychedelics have a long history of medicinal usage, despite the fact that most people think of them as a recreational drug associated with the counterculture of the 1960s. Unfortunately, little study has been done in this field for decades due to poor public and political opinions.

Seasonal mushroom pickers from throughout the country would flock to British Columbia, where psilocybin-containing mushrooms grew abundantly in fields as magic mushrooms gained popularity in the 1960s. Though it was legal to carry psilocybin at the time, the methods utilized to obtain the mushrooms were frequently unlawful or disruptive to communities. This is likely to have influenced popular and political opinions of magic mushrooms as a threat to Canadians’ health and morals.

Canada ratified the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971, a United Nations convention regulating access to psychoactive substances such as psilocybin. Psilocybin usage was outlawed in Canada within a few years after signing this pact.

In Canada, how is psilocybin now regulated?

Despite encouraging studies on its potential advantages, psilocybin is still a heavily controlled and illegal chemical in Canada. The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (the “CDSA”) regulates psilocybin. The CDSA categorizes various drugs into categories depending on their misuse or addiction potential and levies sanctions appropriately. Psilocybin is classified as a Schedule III restricted drug. All uses of psilocybin are prohibited under the CDSA unless an exception is granted. A fine or a jail sentence may be imposed for violating CDSA restrictions.

As a result, Canadian people and businesses seeking to use or conduct research on psilocybin must first get a psilocybin exemption.

Psilocybin Exemptions Prohibitions

Authorization to possess psilocybin is granted under the Food and Drug Regulations to licensed sellers and those exempted by the Minister of Health under section 56 of the CDSA.

Dealers who are licensed

To be allowed to create, assemble, sell, provide, transport, send, distribute, import, or export psilocybin, a person or a business must apply to the federal Minister of Health for a dealer’s license. The activities that each licensed dealer is allowed to do are determined by the sort of license they have applied for. Even with such a license, however, actions are strictly monitored.

Exemptions under Section 56

Persons in Canada may apply to Health Canada for an exemption from the psilocybin prohibitions under section 56 of the CDSA. In the minister’s view, the minister of Health may issue an exemption if the exemption is essential for a medical or scientific purpose or otherwise in the public interest.

What is the current status of psilocybin use in Canada?

The usage of the exemptions mentioned above has risen in recent years, indicating that more multiple medical uses of psilocybin may be in the future.

Four terminally sick cancer patients in Canada were granted a section 56 exemption to use psilocybin for the treatment of end-of-life suffering in August 2020, for the first time. Since then, Health Canada has received significantly more applications for section 56 exemptions than in prior years and has approved far more of them. The exemptions are only good for a year. There have been 64 exemptions issued in total, 45 of which have been granted to patients. The remaining 19 exemptions were awarded to healthcare professionals who were allowed to possess and use psilocybin for professional training. A considerable number of section 56 exemption applications are presently pending. Furthermore, several firms in Canada are undertaking research on chemicals under various exemptions. Health Canada’s Clinical Trials Database directly lists two clinical trials examining the use of psilocybin to treat depression.

How has the enthusiasm for psilocybin’s potential medicinal applications reflected Canada’s capital markets?

Over 20 psychedelics firms have been listed on Canadian stock markets since the beginning of 2020, including some focusing on the study and production of psilocybin-related goods. In addition, the NEO Exchange in Canada has launched the world’s first-ever psychedelics-focused exchange-traded fund (“ETF”). Multiple firms working in the expanding psilocybin sector are represented by this ETF and its accompanying Index.

In Canada, what does the future hold for psilocybin use?

Changes in public opinion of psilocybin have mirrored developments in our understanding of the substance’s potential as a therapy for mental illness, which is somewhat predictable. According to recent polls, most Canadians favor medical access to psilocybin. There is evidence of bipartisan support for psilocybin-assisted therapies. With public support at an all-time high, business organizations are now concentrating on presenting evidence-based policies to Health Canada authorities.

While it remains to be seen if Health Canada will approve the proposed regulations for psilocybin’s medicinal usage, experts throughout the nation are confident that regulatory reform is on the horizon. Psilocybin, on the other hand, is still a heavily controlled narcotic in Canada. Companies interested in doing business in this sector should be aware of the complicated regulatory environment they must operate.

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