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Canadian regulators facilitate access to narcotic drugs

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Health Canada, the country’s health ministry, said drug regulations have been revised based on new research into therapeutic benefits anesthetic.

“There is emerging scientific evidence to support the potential therapeutic uses of some banned drugs, most notably narcotic-restricting drugs such as MDMA and psilocybin,” Health Canada pointed In the Canada GazetteOfficial government publication.

Under the amendment to the Federal Food and Drug Regulations, physicians will be able to request access to prohibited drugs on behalf of their patients through Health Canada. Special Access Program. Previously, prohibited drugs including narcotics were not available through the program.

The Special Access Program allows healthcare professionals to request permission to use unapproved treatments for patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. The program only applies in cases where conventional treatments have failed, are inappropriate or unavailable in Canada. Patients are not permitted to request access to treatment through the program on their behalf.

The search for a drug continues

Research into psychedelic drugs including psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine has shown that the drugs have potential therapeutic benefits, particularly for serious mental health conditions such as depression, addiction, and anxiety. a study Published in the magazine Gamma Psychiatry In 2020, psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was found to be a fast-acting and effective treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. Separated Research A 2016 publication determined that psilocybin treatment resulted in a significant and sustained reduction in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.

“Given the growing scientific interest in some banned drugs, Health Canada is expected to eventually face a situation in which scientific evidence supports the therapeutic use of a restricted drug in the context of the Special Access Program,” the regulators wrote in the January 5 announcement. . “The regulatory adjustments are therefore expected to benefit patients with serious or life-threatening conditions who may be granted access to restricted medications through the Special Access Program in cases where other treatments fail, are inappropriate or are not available in Canada.”

Before Wednesday’s announcement, patients could access the narcotic drugs through two legal methods. The first method is to participate in a clinical trial, which accepts patients only on a limited basis and is not available nationwide. Patients can also access restricted medications by requesting a special exemption from regulations from Health Canada in person.

Facilitate access to patients

In the announcement, the regulators noted that “the regulatory changes will not create widespread access to prohibited drugs nor indicate an intent toward decriminalizing or legalizing prohibited drugs. The Special Access Program is for emergency treatment only.” But the move will make it easier for patients who have an exceptional need for access to narcotic drugs.

Dr. John Hooper, clinical forensic psychologist and CEO of Tripsitter Clinic, a telemedicine provider of ketamine therapy listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange, praised the Canadian government for continuing to advance and recognizing the benefits of psychedelic therapy.

Hopper wrote in an email to High Times. “We hope that Canada’s success will prompt the United States government to follow a similar path while awaiting FDA approval for MDMA and psilocybin.”

Greg Rovner, CEO of Heally, a telemedicine platform for psychedelic drug clinics and patients seeking alternative medicine treatment, said Canadian regulators’ decision to facilitate access to psychedelic drugs should spur new research into the drugs.

“Health Canada’s latest decision is a stark endorsement of the therapeutic potential of MDMA and psilocybin,” Rovner wrote in an email. “It acknowledges the growing body of research into the benefits of psychedelic drugs and expands access to psychedelic drugs for patients in serious and life-threatening conditions. We hope to see more studies on the safety and efficacy of psychedelic drugs that will stimulate further regulatory reform.”

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