PsyCan's White Paper Advocates for Broader Access to Psychedelic Treatments in Canada

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A new white paper provides in-depth analysis and recommendations to increase patient access to therapeutic psychedelics in Canada.

PsyCan, “a not-for-profit trade association representing Canadian psychedelic medicine and therapy companies,” released a new white paper on psychedelics in Canada, according to an October 3rd, 2023 press release (1,2). The 99-page white paper, titled “Beyond the Special Access Program—Regulatory Analysis and Recommendations on Psychedelic Access in Canada,” provided an analysis of current polices in Canada and explained its support for regulatory reform in order to expand patient access to psychedelics treatments (3).

Currently in Canada, legal access to psychedelics is only through the Special Access Program (SAP), which connects patients and psychedelic treatments for certain mental health disorders on a case-by-case basis (3, 4). The authors state that this system places too much burden on those seeking treatment (3).


“We suggest that this is not in the best interests of patients, nor is it reflective of the current academic understanding of the potential harms and benefits of psychedelics, particularly for those in end-of-life circumstances,” said PsyCan Vice-Chair and one of the primary authors of the white paper, Dr. Philippe Lucas, PhD (3). “We urge the Government of Canada to consider alternative access models from around the Globe that would reduce the regulatory burden and enable patients and health care providers to access potentially beneficial treatments expediently, while also maintaining high quality and safety standards.”

The proposed solutions are suggested to take place over the short and long term, and include (3):

  1. Immediate improvements to service standards for the Special Access Program to maximize transparency and predictability and lessen the overall burden and response time for applicants.
  2. Development of a medical psychedelic access program outside of the SAP, with the goal of taking patients off the front lines of the drug war as soon as possible.
  3. Establishment of a Federal Task Force on Psychedelic Access modelled on the Federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization. The mandate of this consultative body would be to coordinate large, regional, and multistakeholder meetings to consider alternative access models to psychedelics for both medical and non-medical purposes.

One of the eight key takeaways includes a statement that considered the changing landscape of psychedelics around the globe (3): “As research on the safety and efficacy of psychedelic therapies continues to expand, recent years have seen changes in the global regulatory landscape. Further changes are expected, prompting a potential for consideration of how to broaden accessibility to these treatments while ensuring reasonable safeguards to both reduce potential harms and maximize the benefits of psychedelics on public health.”


  1. The Future of Psychedelic Access in Canada: PsyCan Releases White Paper Reviewing Regulatory Options for Psychedelics. GlobeNewsWire. October 3, 2023.
  2. Psychedelics Canada (accessed Oct 4, 2023).
  3. Lucas, P., Bedard, L., Melissa, C., and Laycock, E. “Beyond the Special Access Program—Regulatory Analysis and Recommendations on Psychedelic Access in Canada.” PsyCan White Paper, October 3, 2023.
  4. Government of Canada (accessed Oct 4, 2023).