Health Canada unsure of psilocybin

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It seems like Health Canada is unsure of psilocybin. Nathan Kruljac experienced shortness of breath while driving in Surrey, B.C. He went to a clinic, and the staff took him to the hospital. His diagnosis was non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Although he got in remission, he still suffers from trauma and PTSD fifteen years later.

Psilocybin in therapy

“I still see (cancer) as a time bomb rather than a success,” he said. “I’m scared and fearful of reoccurrence.” He believes conventional antidepressants and counseling did not helpfully. He feels like he is failing as a husband and father.

Although Canada banned psychedelic compounds in Canada in 1974, Health Minister Patty Hajdu gave a legal exemption to the cancer patient last August. He allowed him to use psilocybin as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Hajdu later granted several dozen exemptions to patients and some therapists to use magic mushrooms. However, now it looks that Health Canada is unsure of psilocybin.

Health Canada drags feet about psilocybin

There is increasing interest in psilocybin in therapy due to persuasive research at John Hopkins University and the University of California. Studies suggest that psilocybin has antidepressant effects. Moreover, they can allow patients to confront fears and feelings that are too traumatic.


Kruljac is willing to take the risk and applied for an exemption. However, he has yet to hear back from Hajdu or her department. The previous exemptions typically came through within a few weeks.

Patients are waiting for exemptions

“What upsets me is that there are 50 other people in this country that have been given the exemption to choose their own path to healing. I am being treated differently, which goes against our Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” he said. “And that’s what’s really upsetting me right now because there’s not only myself but there are other people.”


Hajdu has not commented on why the application approvals have stopped. In a recent statement, Health Canada said it is reviewing each request for an exemption.