Press Release — Nov 08, 2023
PsyCan — the not-for-profit trade association of legally-operating Canadian psychedelic companies — enthusiastically endorses a new report by the Senate of Canada Subcommittee on Veteran Affairs urging federal, provincial, and territorial governments to launch and fund a large-scale research program into psychedelic-assisted therapy.
The subcommittee’s report — The Time is Now: Granting Equitable Access to Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies — recommends the immediate implementation of a robust research program for treating mental disorders and other conditions — funded by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Department of National Defence (DND) and in partnership with Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and other relevant partners.
Numerous landmark scientific articles demonstrate the efficacy and safety of psychedelic drugs in clinical trials in mental health conditions such as Anxiety, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD), Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), Tobacco Use Disorder (TUD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Results from most trials show psychedelic-assisted therapies can be more effective and faster than current treatments. 
However, clinical trials examining the medical applications of psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin or MDMA, have been largely paid for by charitable donations or directly self-funded by companies — leaving a significant funding gap. While Canada is a leader in developing these innovative treatments, many barriers remain to patient access, and government must play an active role.
“This report echoes our calls for government funding into psychedelic-assisted therapy,” said PharmAla Biotech CEO and PsyCan Chair Nick Kadysh. “Our association has been relentlessly highlighting the vital importance of publicly funded research into psychedelic medicine and therapy in conversations with Veterans Affairs Canada, Health Canada, and Members of Parliament from all parties.”
Last year, PsyCan called for $50 million in funding over 5 years through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in its Written Submission for 2023 pre-budget consultations to the House of Commons Finance Committee. The Time is Now report makes a similar call to action; PsyCan is proud to support the report in its entirety, and urges the Government of Canada (including Health Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada) to implement its recommendations as quickly as feasible.
“Research on these subjects is constantly evolving and will continue to do so. No one can predict whether progress will be spectacular or whether there will be setbacks. What we know today is that there is no reason to wait for results from other countries, because the results would still need to be confirmed for our veterans. It is the Government of Canada’s duty to assure veterans that it is doing everything in its power, immediately, to respect its solemn commitment to support, at any cost, those who chose to defend us with honour.”
- Excerpt from The Time is Now: Granting Equitable Access to Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies
This report comes at a time of gathering national and global recognition of the revolutionary potential of psychedelic medicine and therapy. Earlier this year, the Government of Canada awarded $3 million to study psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy using psilocybin through the CIHR — an initial investment signaling Canada’s commitment to the science of psychedelic medicine, though falling short of the decisive intervention called for in our 2023 pre-budget submission.
PsyCan’s request for $50 million over 5 years would allow further grants through the CIHR for clinical investigation by qualifying research institutions; The data generated by such trials could be used for the approval of drugs which are off-patent, such as MDMA, Psilocybin, or other – clinical research which is unlikely to be undertaken by the pharmaceutical industry.
“Veterans and other critically or chronically ill Canadians cannot be told to wait while safe and effective treatments are currently available for intractable mental health and chronic pain conditions”, said psychedelic researcher and PsyCan Vice Chair Philippe Lucas, PhD.
“We are extremely grateful that the Senate has recognized the immediacy of this need, and look forward to working with VAC, Health Canada, and the veteran community to accelerate research and safe, legal access to psychedelic therapies for those that have already given so much for this country.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: A Paradigm Shift in Psychiatric Research and Development. Eduardo Ekman
Schenberg. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2018; 9: 733.
Liam Bedard, Coordonnateur