TheraPsil’s 4 Pillar Mission
- TREATMENT: Establish safe, compassionate, and legal access to psychedelic-assisted therapy for those in medical need.
- EDUCATION: Increase awareness of general public and health care professionals about the merits and limitations of psychedelic-assisted therapy.
- TRAINING: Developing safe, simple, and effective protocols for credentialed health professionals across Canada to deliver psilocybin-assisted therapy, in collaboration with other active organizations.
- RESEARCH: Facilitate research and evaluation, in collaboration with Canadian and international partners.
- Freedom of citizens to exercise their right to try therapies and make their own choices about their personal health and wellbeing
- Courage to fight for that right
- Compassion for patients in medical need and with a palliative diagnosis
- Responsibility to mitigate suffering and promote the well-being of patients
Why We Exist… Our Vision
- Canadians in palliative care with severe psychological distress deserve access to effective new therapies, in consultation with a physician, which can improve their quality of life/death.
- When effective therapy involves a prohibited/controlled substance, we challenge the laws that are in conflict with science and compassionate care.
- Care providers must work collaboratively with patients toward healing vs merely the suppression of psychological trauma, addiction, illness, and pain.
Where do we start?
Our initial focus will be on the provision of compassionate treatment for terminal cancer patients who suffer from end-of-life distress. End-of-life distress is best described as the combination of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and demoralization experienced by patients who receive a diagnosis of a terminal illness from diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or heart disease. As research in psychedelic medicine matures, we will further expand our services to include others who may benefit from psilocybin.
Treatment of End-of-Life Distress
“End-of-life distress” refers to the combination of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and demoralization experienced by patients who receive a diagnosis of a terminal illness from diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or heart disease. This emotional distress, which has a wide array of psychosocial and spiritual impacts and may be difficult to treat despite the best available psychotherapies and pharmacotherapies available today. While there is evidence based treatment for End-of-life distress that is not psychedelic based, it is seemingly inadequate; when compared to Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, that has demonstrated considerable success in treating anxiety-related to end-life distress and is an important additional intervention when other therapies have been found to be insufficient for a suffering patient/person.
Each year, approximately 2800 Canadians are given terminal cancer diagnoses, many of whom do not adequately respond to conventional treatment for end-of-life distress. Conventional therapy would include psychotherapy, of which there are many, including CBT, CALM Therapy, Dignity Therapy, Meaning Centred Psychotherapy, and others; as well as pharmacotherapy which would include the use of SSRIs, SNRIs, NDRIs, psychostimulants, and other agents. There is also a lack of consensus regarding what is defined as end of life distress as there is no technical medical diagnosis of “end of life distress”; people instead are treated for depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders. In many cases, their emotional pain interferes with their other medical procedures.
Since 2006, clinical trials and research endeavors at Johns Hopkins University and New York University have demonstrated that psilocybin, the active psychedelic component in what is often called “magic mushrooms,” has promising effects in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorders, in patients who have been given terminally ill cancer diagnoses and have found little relief from traditional methods of treatment.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy has been demonstrated to be a viable and legitimate adjunct or subsequent treatment of end-of-life distress. The studies at Johns Hopkins Medical Centre and New York University led to immediate, substantial, and sustained decreases in depression, death anxiety, cancer-related demoralization, and hopelessness (Ross et al. 2016). Furthermore, these clinical trials resulted in increases in quality of life, life meaning, and overall optimism. At the 6-month follow-up mark, 80% of participants regard their psilocybin experience to be in the top five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives (Griffiths et al. 2016). They subsequently reported improvements in attitudes about life/self, mood, relationships, and spirituality with significantly increased well-being/life satisfaction, and improved attitudes toward death.
“At the 6-month follow-up mark, 80% of participants continuing to show clinically significant decreases in depressed mood and anxiety”
– Griffiths et a.l 2016
Unfortunately, current access to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is almost non-existent and remains illegal in Canada. In addition, we do not anticipate these medicines being made available to Canadians in the foreseeable future. At the current rate of progress, it may be years before psilocybin completes Phase 3 clinical trials and becomes available as a legitimate Health Canada approved medical option. In the meantime, many Canadians are suffering severely from end-of-life distress, and are in dire need of relief now.
We are pleased and honored to have the support and encouragement of three eminent American scientists who have been pioneers in the clinical research of psilocybin-assisted therapy. Much of our application is based on the work that they are contributing to modern science.
- Dr. William Richards, Johns Hopkins Medical Center’s Psilocybin Research
- Dr. Anthony Bossis, New York University
- Dr. Charles Grob, Harbor-UCLA
These scientists have agreed to serve as expert witnesses for us in the event of litigation.