Advocates, Patients, Doctors Sue Canadian Government for Greater Access to Magic Mushrooms

A handful of Canadians are suing the federal government as part of a constitutional challenge that argues people have a right to use psilocybin for medical reasons, Manisha Krishnan reports for Vice. Patients, advocates, doctors and therapists say that the current pathways to legally access magic mushrooms are opaque, cumbersome, and riddled with delays.

The lawsuit, which states that magic mushrooms are safe, not addictive, and have virtually no risk of overdose, comes as the Canadian government plans to expand eligibility for medical assistance in dying (MAID) next March to allow people whose sole condition is a mental illness, including substance use disorders, to be assessed. In February, a Special Joint Committee on MAID recommended Health Canada, a federal government agency, review its Special Access Program, through which people are applying for access to psychedelics, to “determine whether there are ways to improve access to promising therapies, such as psilocybin, for both research purposes and for individual use as part of palliative care supports.” Health Canada’s Special Access Program was updated in January 2022 to allow healthcare practitioners to request access to restricted drugs like psilocybin for patients “with serious or life-threatening conditions, when conventional therapies have failed, are unsuitable or are unavailable in Canada.”

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