Recently, doctors in Canada have granted permission for using magic mushrooms to four people who have been receiving treatment for different types of cancers without any success after a petition by the organization TheraPsil was approved by the Canadian government.
More specifically, after careful consideration of the four cases, professionals have reached the conclusion that the use of magic mushrooms or what is also commonly referred to as shrooms, can help the patients in dealing with treatment-related stress and mental health issue.
Although shrooms were criminalized by the Canadian government in 1974, more and more studies are highlighting the potential benefits they can offer.
The advantages of shrooms are primarily due to the presence of one of its compounds known as psilocybin, which has shown to assist people struggling with mental health disorders including depressive episodes and anxiety attacks when used in safe dosage.
Prior to the recent approval for the use of psilocybin treatment for the management of stress and anxiety, researchers have noted that people with health conditions or on treatment can develop treatment-related mental disorders over time.
This specifically includes those living with aggressive disease and receiving particularly harsh treatments such as cancer and cancer treatment.
The four patients who can now use shrooms in Canada have developed similar problems such as emotional distress, anxiety, and high-stress levels. All four of the patients had been receiving multiple treatments for their cancers and were deemed incurable by doctors.
A study from 2016 showed that while other treatments for mental health issues may not help people living with life-threatening diseases, psilocybin-based therapies showed significantly better results.
In fact, the researchers found that the positive impact of the therapy was visible in cancer patients after six months even if they took one or two sessions only.
Additionally, a follow-up of the study also discovered that patients who survived and continued to opt for psilocybin-based therapies reported improvements in mental health and better stress management for more than four years after receiving the first session.
Although the study showed promising results, the approval of shrooms or psilocybin-based treatments in Canada is unlikely until there are proper medical trials on the substance to ensure safety and effectiveness.
Clinical trials can take months to set up and several years to reach the final phase and conclude the findings.
This is the reason why the organization which was responsible for filing a petition for approval of psilocybin-based therapy for the four cancer patients, gives access to people living with a terminal illness and emotional distress and need the treatment.
Although there have been no trials corroborating the effectiveness of magic mushrooms and they are notorious for being used for recreational purposes on parties and social gatherings, activists around the world are lobbying for legalization.
A number of activists have also successfully decriminalized shrooms and psilocybin through lobbying with the US government in cities including Denver, Oakland, and Portland. Several other cities are also likely to decriminalize magic mushrooms by next year.
Following the US, many other countries are also expected to reconsider the benefits of psilocybin and decriminalize it in the coming future.