Quebec Approves Magic Mushrooms Under Public Health Coverage

Quebec Approves Magic Mushrooms Under Public Health Coverage

Quebec, Canada last week approved the used of psilocybin – the primary psychoactive in “magic mushrooms,” as a valid therapy under the state’s medical system.

Advocates hope the move will set a precedent for other Canadian provinces to take similar action, Forbes reports.

“This decision is a huge step forward for the use of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as a legitimate medical treatment,” wrote TheraPsil, a nonprofit group that advocates for the advancement of psilocybin therapies, in a Dec. 15 statement. “It not only provides greater access to this potentially life-changing treatment for patients in Quebec, but it also sets a precedent for other provinces to follow suit.”

Clinical research and other studies into psychedelics such as psilocybin have shown that the drugs have potential therapeutic benefits, particularly for serious mental health conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety. Research published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry in 2020 found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was an effective and quick-acting treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. A separate study published in 2016 determined that psilocybin treatment produced substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer. -Forbes

As we noted in April, psychedelic mushrooms are becoming increasingly popular in the US as a possible treatment for psychiatric disorders, with their main active ingredient, psilocybin, moving from the fringes of medicine, to become increasingly mainstream. It appears that Canada, however, is actually making moves to bring the benefits to actual patients.

And while the benefits of psilocybin have been evident for some time, access to the compound – and related therapy, has been extremely limited in Canada. In some cases, terminally ill patients suffering from palliative depression have been made to wait more than a year for a response from Health Canada – the national health regulator – to gain permission to use magic mushrooms legally. What’s more, even when patients obtained a legal exemption to use the drug, healthcare practitioners were unable to bill for it due to a lack of codes to properly process charges.

That all changed after two doctors, Dr. Houman Farzin and Dr. Jean-François Stephan, successfully billed Quebec after treating a patient with psilocybin which was legally allowed by Health Canada.

After the treatment, Dr. Stephan compiled evidence and submitted a letter, cosigned by 15 colleagues, outlining the medical safety and efficacy of psilocybin. He argued that both doctors participating in the treatment should be covered, noting that existing codes would not allow two doctors to bill for the same patient at the same time. He also explained that scientific evidence demonstrates that patients who have legal access to psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy have a medical indication. -Forbes

“I think it’s amazing news that patients have covered access to such an important treatment option and it’s an encouraging sign for psychedelic medicine. Quebec has chosen to align with the science in regards to psychedelic medicine and recognize it as a medically indicated service in specific circumstances. They didn’t delay this unnecessarily,” said Dr. Stephan, who partnered with the governing body for general practitioners in Quebec, the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ), which negotiated with the government to amend the codes.

“It’s encouraging to see them recognize the evidence available, and make the necessary adjustments to support the financial aspects of treatment so that it’s not an obstacle for patient access. I’m pleased this happened in Quebec, and I hope other provinces follow in their footsteps.”


Tyler Durden
Mon, 12/19/2022 – 17:20

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