From Psilocybin to Ketamine: Alberta to Regulate Psychoactive Therapy

Written by Lydia Kariuki

In January 2023, Alberta will become the first Canadian province to have a regulated psychedelic therapy program for patients suffering from mental health conditions. This comes after the government amended the Mental Health Services Protection Regulation in October to make special provisions and requirements for psychedelic assisted therapy. The psychedelics in question include psilocybin, LSD, mescaline, peyote, psilocin, DMT, and Ketamine.

The new amendment will allow psychiatrists with a license under the Mental Health Services Protection Act to offer psychedelics to patients. Administration of the psychedelic therapy will only take place in a closed clinical environment, except in cases of end of life care.

The amendment only applies to psychedelic assisted therapy for psychiatric disorders. It does not apply to the use of psychedelics in clinical trials, for the treatment of pain (ketamine therapy) or for use in end of life care.

Even though psychedelics are illegal in Canada, they have remained accessible to scientists for research purposes. Current research has shown that certain psychedelics have significant therapeutic potential in psychiatry and especially PTSD and treatment resistant depression (TRD). A randomized clinical trial that was published in 2020 showed that psilocybin is efficacious in treating severe depression.

However, researchers are aware that psychedelics carry risks and have a high potential for abuse, therefore their use in the clinical setting should be monitored. The government of Alberta has put measures in place to safeguard the health and safety of patients.

About the author

Lydia Kariuki