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):
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.”