TheraPsil FAQ

About TheraPsil 

What is TheraPsil?

Therapsil is a coalition of healthcare professionals, patients and advocates dedicated to fighting for the rights of Canadians facing end-of-life distress to have legal access to therapeutic psychedelics. Our main focus at this time is to support patients who have a terminal illness to access legal, medically supervised, psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. Although we hope to eventually provide psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to all Canadians, we have decided to currently limit our treatment scope to end-of-life distress for patients who are terminally-ill as this treatment has the most rigorous scientific evidence demonstrating therapeutic efficacy and safety.

How do you help patients gain access to legal, medically-supervised psilocybin assisted psychotherapy? / What does TheraPsil actually do?

Currently, TheraPsil facilitates two primary functions:

  1. Supporting qualified patients with their application to the Minister of Health, to request an exemption to section 56(1) of the Candian Drugs and Substances Act. If approved, this exemption would allow patients to legally possess and use psilocybin-mushrooms for medical purposes. 
  2. Connecting patients with qualified Healthcare practitioners who can facilitate their psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, only if the patient has received an exemption from the Minister of Health.  

In addition to supporting patients, and facilitating compassionate access to psilocybin- assisted psychotherapy, our mission includes public education, training for healthcare practitioners and therapists, and facilitating research. 

What does TheraPsil NOT do?

  • We do not advocate for the illegal use or possession of psilocybin
  • We do not help patients find a source of psilocybin, or advise on source options
  • We do not encourage or advocate for self-medicating (i.e taking psilocybin without medical or therapeutic protocols), however we may support patients who have self-medicated with psilocybin in the past and are now seeking legal access, and professional treatment
  • At the present moment, we do not treat patients, and we are not a clinic, however we can help connect patients with qualified healthcare practitioners to facilitate treatment.

Who is on your team? 

The TheraPsil coalition is made up of health professionals (including doctors, therapists, and nurses), researchers, policy makers, lawyers, advocates and support staff. To learn more about the TheraPsil team, please click here.


About Psilocybin & Psilocybin-assisted Psychotherapy 

What is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is a compound found in many species of mushrooms that creates psychoactive and psychedelic effects, which may include alterations in sensation, cognition, and emotion. Psilocybin can be synthesized to better ensure the purity, potency, and accuracy of doses. Researchers use this synthetic form in their clinical trials.

Can TheraPsil help me obtain magic mushrooms/ Psilocybin? 

No. TheraPsil does not, and legally cannot, help patients or individuals procure ‘magic mushrooms’ or psilocybin in any form. At this time, we can only support patients who have their own source or means of procuring this substance / fungi. 

What is psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy?

Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy refers to the professionally guided use of psilocybin in combination with psychotherapy, and differs greatly from the recreational use of psychedelics. Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy involves a rigorous and clinically tested treatment protocol that encompasses careful medical oversight of the treatment session, as well as pre- and post-psychotherapy sessions that help prepare an individual for lasting healing.

How can psilocybin help those facing end-of-life distress?

Research shows that psilocybin can have profoundly positive effects on people facing the end of life. Doses of psilocybin, accompanied by psychotherapy, can help reduce the depression, anxiety, and hopelessness that is often associated with the end-of-life experience. This treatment can also increase a sense of spiritual connectedness and meaning in life, while at the same time reducing a desire to hasten death and the existential anxiety that is associated with facing the end of life.

What are the dangers of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy?

As with all treatments, there are contraindications and risks. However, the medical literature suggests that psilocybin-assisted therapy can be a safe and effective treatment option for end-of-life distress, in comparison to other treatments. The safety profile of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy is different from the recreational use of psychedelics as the treatment setting is carefully prepared, the psychotherapist works to prepare the patient, and monitor the session. Research also shows that psilocybin is not addictive. Rather, psilocybin is actually anti-addictive, meaning that individuals who consume psilocybin tend to reduce their consumption of other substances.


For Patients & Loved Ones 

What is end-of-life distress? 

End of Life distress is the psychological complex of extreme anxiety, depression, hopelessness and demoralization that can occur when a patient is diagnosed as terminally-ill or receiving palliative care. 

Who can access this treatment?

At this time we are working towards legal access for individuals that are terminally-ill and are experiencing end-of-life distress. If you, or someone you know, are interested in legal access to psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, please get in touch with us here.

Am I eligible for TheraPsil’s support?

As of June 1st, 2020, TheraPsil supports Canadians who meet the following criteria. If you are eligible, please contact us here

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

  • 19+ Residents of British Columbia, terminally ill and/or receiving palliative care
  • As a result of your diagnosis, you experience end-of-life psychological distress (anxiety/depression/demoralization)  
  • You are interested in trying psilocybin, have identified a potential supply and are seeking legal protection and a supervised treatment program 
  • Your emotional distress has not successfully responded to other treatments

 

While TheraPsil’s team cannot guarantee the success of any exemption request, it will provide support to interested applicants that meet the eligibility criteria, and our patient inclusion criteria (PIC).

Why don’t you help patients suffering from other mental illnesses such as treatment-resistant depression, or PTSD which has also shown promising results with psilocybin? 

To ensure patients we work with receive the dedicated support and compassion they deserve, TheraPsil currently has a narrow, evidence-based mission and patient inclusion criteria. As our resources, and team expand, alongside increased research in the field, we look forward to the potential of widening our patient inclusion criteria to support Canadian’s with other mental health conditions. 

Why do you only help patients in British Columbia or Ontario?

As a small organization with limited resources, most of our network and support team is based in Victoria, BC or Ontario. As such, at this point in time, we are focused on assisting our local communities. As our network and team expands, we look forward to helping patients residing in increasingly more regions, and eventually all of Canada. 


Legitimacy & Legalities 

Is TheraPsil accredited as being a legitimate healthcare provider?

At this time, TheraPsil does not provide treatment to patients; we facilitate two primary functions:

  1. Supporting qualified patients with their application to the Minister of Health, to request an exemption to section 56(1) of the Candian Drugs and Substances Act. If approved, this exemption would allow patients to possess and use psilocybin-mushrooms for medical purposes. 
  2. Connecting patients with qualified Healthcare practitioners who can facilitate their psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, only if the patient has received an exemption from the Minister of Health.  

Have patients been successful in gaining an exemption to Section 56 before?

Yes! The Minister of Health can allow the use of prohibited therapies such as psilocybin, if in his or her opinion, such an exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest. Section 56 exemptions have an established history in Canada. 

Most notably, in 1999, Section 56 exemptions allowed Canadians compassionate access to medical cannabis. Furthermore, in September 2003, Health Canada granted the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority an exemption to open North America’s first safe injection facility, InSite. In addition the Santo Daime Church was granted an exemption to import and use an Ayahuasca brew, which contains the illegal drug DMT, for religious purposes. 

Isn’t psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy illegal?

Yes. TheraPsil exists because patients in critical condition who would benefit from a safe, effective, and proven therapy like psilocybin-assisted therapy are not able to access it. We are working to change this, so that patients can access the care they need.

Is there any research done on the legitimacy of psilocybin- assisted psychotherapy? 

Yes! We have amalgamated a bibliography of research, here. 


Funding 

How are you Funded?

TheraPsil relies on donations from organizations and individuals that believe in our mission and wish to financially support the work we do. TheraPsil is a non-profit organization and cannot function at the level our patients deserve, without funding from generous donors. 

What does ‘sponsorship’ mean?

You may have read press releases that mention an organization or company has ‘sponsored’ or ‘supported’ Therapsil. This simply means that this organization has generously donated to TheraPsil to support our work and mission. This support allows us to continue and accelerate our work, and maintain the day-to-day operations of TheraPsil. 

How can I support TheraPsil?

Please contact us at donations@therapsil.ca if you wish to support us. We appreciate your support immensely!