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Taking magic mushrooms may cause you to see, hear or feel things that are not there, or to experience anxiety, fear, nausea and muscle twitches accompanied by increased heart rate and blood pressure. In some cases, the consumption of magic mushrooms can lead to "bad trips" or "flashbacks". There is increasing interest in the potential therapeutic uses of psilocybin. At this time, there are no approved therapeutic products containing psilocybin in Canada. Clinical trials are the most appropriate and effective way to advance research with unapproved drugs such as psilocybin while protecting the best interests of patients. Magic mushrooms have been used for thousands of years.


Nathan Kruljac was a young man of 25 when he experienced some shortness of breath while out for a drive in Surrey, B. He went to a walk-in clinic.

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Minutes later, he was taken to hospital. After a week of tests doctors had a diagnosis: follicular non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

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While treatment eventually put the cancer into remission, Kruljac says he never truly recovered. Kruljac says conventional antidepressants and counselling only did so much to help. Now a husband and father, he feels he's often failing his four-year-old daughter.

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I want to be able to look at my front door and not be terrified," he said. Last August, Kruljac got a sliver of hope when he read that Health Minister Patty Hajdu had granted a legal exemption to Saskatchewan cancer patient Thomas Hartle, allowing him to use psilocybin as an adjunct to psychotherapy.

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It was the first of several dozen exemptions Hajdu would grant, to patients and even some therapists, for the psychedelic compound in what are commonly called magic mushrooms. Psilocybin was banned in Canada in But psilocybin is also, now, at the forefront of a renaissance in psychedelic therapy, due in part to persuasive research at institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and the University of California.

Some peer-reviewed studies have found that psilocybin has antidepressant effects and can allow patients, with the help of trained therapists, to confront fears and feelings that are otherwise too traumatic.

Legal status of psilocybin mushrooms

Patients granted an exemption typically take a one-time five-gram dose, enough to induce a full-on psychedelic experience, in tandem with planned therapy the day before, during and after the dose is taken. Kruljac applied for an exemption in March, with help from TheraPsil, a B. But more than four months later, Kruljac has heard nothing back from Hajdu or her department.

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Scores of other applications seem to have also gone into limbo. Most of the exemptions were granted in a matter of weeks, with at least one approved in a couple of days, according to TheraPsil.

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Most of the 64 exemptions granted to date were issued last year. They went to 45 patients and 19 health professionals, according to Health Canada. I am being treated differently which goes against our Charter of Rights and Freedoms," he said. One of them is Jim Doswell. The year old from Victoria has survived colon cancer and T-cell lymphoma.

Are psilocybe mushrooms legal in canada?

But he lives with the after-effects of both that battle and some difficult years as a negotiator and a senior adviser to a federal deputy minister. Two months ago, Doswell applied directly to Hajdu for an exemption to use psilocybin.

He's still waiting for a reply. Even some who have an exemption feel as if they're doing something wrong. In St. John's, a teacher who was successful says the system for approving the exemptions is opaque and arbitrary, leaving him fearful to reveal his name.

Psilocybin has demonstrated modest, and even promising in clinical trials for the treatment of addiction, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and death anxiety.

Neither Hajdu nor spokespeople for Health Canada have been able to explain why the application approvals have stalled. In a recent statement Health Canada said it is "committed to thoroughly reviewing each request for an exemption … on a case-by-case basis, taking into all relevant considerations.

Kruljac isn't satisfied.

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On Monday, lawyers paid by TheraPsil served the government a notice of application, filed a federal court, seeking to compel an answer from Hajdu. TheraPsil's CEO Spencer Hawkswell says there's a bigger issue at stake than one person's ability to legally use psilocybin.

TheraPsil wants to see psilocybin and the mushrooms removed from the CDSA, and have it regulated much like medicinal cannabis was 20 years ago.

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Because, you know, you can always fight the government in courts. But that's not what an effective government does. Effective government listens to people. Hajdu's office didn't respond to an interview request about TheraPsil's legal manoeuvre.

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A spokesperson for Health Canada said it needed more time before commenting. Curt Petrovich is a journalist and author with more than three decades of national, international and investigative reporting experience. Health Canada dragging feet on approving magic mushrooms for therapeutic use, patients and advocates say CBC News Loaded.

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British Columbia Health Canada dragging feet on approving magic mushrooms for therapeutic use, patients and advocates say A group of patients question why their applications for an exemption to use psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in what are commonly called magic mushrooms, for therapeutic purposes have gone unanswered by Health Canada.

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Fifteen years later, he still suffers from trauma and PTSD. Some doctors, therapists get Health Canada permission to use magic mushrooms Southwestern Ontario lab seeks rare permission to make, study psychedelic drugs New U of C research position 1st in Canada to focus on psychedelic drug therapy for mental health.

Curt Petrovich.

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TheraPsil, which advocates for the therapeutic use of the psychedelic compound psilocybin, spent months drafting proposed regulations for so-called magic mushrooms based on the same ones the federal government first created 20 years ago for medicinal cannabis.


Psilocybe mushroom is a kind of mushroom that possesses a hallucinogenic and proactive compound called psilocybin.