PC Logo Reverse BI

L'Association des Entreprises Psychédéliques

The Future of Psychedelic Access in Canada: PsyCan Releases White Paper Reviewing Regulatory Options for Psychedelics

Press Release — oct. 03, 2023


PsyCan — the not-for-profit trade association of legally-operating Canadian psychedelic companies — is pleased to share its 2023 White Paper on the future of psychedelic access in Canada: Beyond the Special Access Program Regulatory Analysis and Recommendations on Psychedelic Access in Canada.

The White Paper is accessible here: https://psychedelicscanada.org/whitepaper.

The White Paper examines regulatory reforms governing access to psychedelics. It includes a review of current Canadian regulations and an environmental scan of relevant regulatory proposals, acts, and academic publications from comparable jurisdictions.

Written by a committee of PsyCan members, regulatory experts, and academics, the 2023 White Paper recommends a number of measures to reduce barriers for patients to access psychedelic-assisted therapies, including:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

“The Canadian healthcare system is based on the principle of patient and physician autonomy in making fundamental decisions about medical treatments. However, most psychedelic-assisted therapies are an exception to this – requiring individual federal government approval on a per-patient basis,” said PsyCan Vice-Chair and White Paper Committee Chair Dr. Philippe Lucas PhD.

“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. 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.”

Canadian patient access to psychedelic medicine and therapy is at present largely based on a centralized case-by-case federal approval system: the Special Access Program (SAP). Evidence suggests that the SAP has provided legal access for some patients that could benefit from the use these therapies; however, timelines for review have been highly inconsistent and denials and approvals have proven unpredictable, unnecessarily increasing the stress on critically and chronically ill Canadians seeking treatment options.

“The body of clinical evidence on the safety and efficacy of psychedelic therapies has become incredibly persuasive. Recent years have seen changes in the global legal landscape governing access to psychedelic medicine and therapy – and of course, Health Canada’s decision to allow for access through the Special Access Program is to be commended,” said PsyCan Board Chair Nick Kadysh. “However, to keep pace with reforms in the United States, the European Union, Australia, and elsewhere, Canada must be proactive, rather than reactive. Ultimately, I believe we all share the same goal: to allow patients access to treatments which will help heal them, and to reduce the stress and burden of accessing these treatments.”

About PsyCan

Incorporated as the Psychedelics Businesses Association, PsyCan is the not-for-profit trade association of legally operating psychedelic medicine and therapy companies in Canada. PsyCan is dedicated to working collaboratively to advance government regulation, scientific research, and the specific needs of the growing sector. Its member companies represent research, development, manufacturing, and clinic operations. At the time of incorporation, PsyCan was the first national-level trade association for the legal psychedelic medicine and therapy sector anywhere in the world.

For media inquiries, contact PsyCan Coordinator Liam Bedard at admin@psychedelicscanada.org




Psychédéliques Canada, connue aussi comme étant l’Association de l’industrie des psychédéliques, est une association professionnelle à but non lucratif qui représente l’industrie légale des hallucinogènes. Elle mise sur la collaboration pour faire progresser la réglementation gouvernementale, avancer la recherche scientifique et satisfaire les besoins de l’industrie dans son ensemble. Les entreprises membres de Psychédéliques Canada croient fermement au pouvoir de la mobilisation collective ainsi qu’aux vertus thérapeutiques des molécules psychédéliques. Ces entreprises sont actives dans différents secteurs : recherche et développement, fabrication, activités cliniques. Lorsque Psychédéliques Canada a été officiellement constituée, il n’existait aucune autre association professionnelle nationale dans le monde se faisant la voix de l’industrie légale des hallucinogènes.

Pour plus d’information, veuillez communiquer avec :

Liam Bedard, Coordonnateur