"Magic" mushrooms, other psychedelics will soon be regulated for therapy in Alberta

Oct 6 2022, 3:17 pm

Alberta says it’s going to ensure proper safeguards and expert medical oversight as it’s set to become the first province in Canada to regulate psychedelics for therapy.

The province says that the emerging field of psychedelic-assisted therapy shows promise in treating a range of mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and treatment-resistant depression.

Psychedelic drugs include psilocybin, psilocin, MDMA, LSD, mescaline, DMT, and ketamine.

An amendment to the Mental Health Services Protection Regulation establishes new quality standards for psychedelic drug treatment for mental health conditions while continuing to ensure access to promising treatments.

“Because of the mind-altering properties of psychedelics, patients have a heightened vulnerability during treatment and face an increased risk of mental and physical harm,” the province stated in a news release.

Based on the advice of experts, the requirements for psychedelic drug treatment differ depending on the level of risk involved, such as the use of ketamine versus other psychedelic drugs, whether the service includes psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, and whether the dosage is likely to cause an altered state of consciousness.

“The evidence is emerging that psychedelic-assisted therapy holds a lot of promise in treating mental health issues like PTSD and treatment-resistant depression,” said Mike Ellis, associate minister of mental health and addictions.

“In order to fully realize the potential of this emerging field, we must have high standards of care in place to protect Albertans accessing care and ensure the legitimacy of the therapy. These new quality standards create a strong foundation for the safe and effective use of psychedelic-assisted therapy in Alberta as this field advances.”

With certain exceptions, clinics offering psychedelic-assisted treatment in Alberta must be licensed and have the medical oversight of a psychiatrist.

Patients undergoing psychedelic drug treatment must be monitored by qualified health professionals if the dosage of the drug brings the patient into an altered state of consciousness.

Laine MitchellLaine Mitchell

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