Canada just announced that four patients who have been diagnosed with terminal cancer will receive therapy from psilocybin, the psychoactive component in mushrooms.
The idea is for the patients to come to terms with their lives ending through the use of psilocybin. This comes over 100 days after a plea from patients with the government. Finally, the plea for medicine has been approved by Patty Hajdu, minister of health in Canada. It’s the first exception to the rule for psychedelic treatment since 1974.
“The acknowledgment of the pain and anxiety that I have been suffering with means a lot to me, and I am feeling quite emotional today as a result,” said Laurie Brooks, one of the patients able to receive her treatments. “I hope this is just the beginning and that soon all Canadians will be able to access psilocybin, for therapeutic use, to help with the pain they are experiencing, without having to petition the government for months to gain permission.”
“I would like to personally thank the Hon. Minister Hajdu and the team at the Office of Controlled Substances for the approval of my section 56 exemption. This is the positive result that is possible when good people show genuine compassion. I’m so grateful that I can move forward with the next step of healing,” added patient Thomas Hartle.
Dr. Bruce Tobin, Founder and Chairman of TheraPsil, the group behind providing psilocybin to end-of-life patients, said, “We would like to extend our incredible gratitude to the Honorable Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, and to our government. Although it has taken a long time we are impressed with their willingness to listen to patients who have not been heard and to shift focus and policy to accommodate their interests and protect their needs. We also thank the brave Canadian patients who have been public in their fight for psilocybin access, along with the honourable Canadian MPs who have demonstrated courage, standing up for patient rights, including Marcus Powlowski, Ed Fast, Elizabeth May, Paul Manley, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Helena Jaczek, and Hedy Fry”
Compassionate Care Through Plants
End-of-life anxiety can often be one of the most severe side effects of a terminal diagnosis, and traditional anxiety medicine often doesn’t help with that. For that reason, the patients approved of this treatment specifically asked for an alternative to the medicines they were being prescribed.
“It gives you a rapid heart rate. It makes you feel terrible,” Hartle said.
Based on this, the patients decided on psilocybin, as recent research reveals how much it can help with end-of-life healing. A study by NYU Langone Health revealed that 60 to 80 percent of the 29 people who participated found that psilocybin, in combination with psychotherapy, helps soothe distress about death. Most of the patients reported positive life changes after going through the treatment.
While terminal diagnoses still exist in Western medicine, it’s incredibly important for end-of-life care to be prioritized, and this will help give the patients who need it the peace of mind they are craving.