Four months after it allowed a handful of palliative care patients to use psilocybin as a way to relieve end-of-life suffering, Health Canada has cleared the way for more than a dozen health professionals to use the psychedelic drug themselves to help develop therapies for future use.

Health Canada says it granted 16 exemptions to a selection of nurses, doctors, therapists and social workers, allowing them to possess and use psilocybin for personal training without fear of prosecution under the country’s drug laws.

“This is not a small step. This is a seismic step,” said Dr. Sean O’Sullivan, a Tillsonburg, Ont., doctor and medical director of TheraPsil, a non-profit group that advocates for the therapeutic use of psilocybin.

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