Legal psychedelic therapy arrives in Alberta after ground-breaking Health Canada decision

Calgary father facing a terminal cancer prognosis approved mental health therapy through psilocybin mushrooms.

CALGARY, AB — The SYNTAC Institute, an Alberta-based non-profit organization dedicated to bringing legal psychedelic-assisted therapy to Canadians has been granted the first announced approval from Health Canada for an Alberta-based patient facing terminal cancer.

The Alberta man, Anthony White, was approved the “innovative psychedelic-assisted therapy” for end-of-life mental health challenges. He was given a legal exemption from the Canadian Drugs and Substances Act, granted by the Office of Controlled Substances at Health Canada.

Under the Section 56 Exemption approved by Health Canada, White will now be eligible to participate in a therapy process overseen by a medical team that includes the use of psilocybin, an active hallucinogenic substance found in “magic mushrooms”.

He was granted permission for the ground-breaking treatment due to the severe mental health challenges that come with such a prognosis.

His situation has been difficult to grapple with as White is only in his forties and has a young daughter.

“Facing this devastating prognosis has been incredibly difficult, but I am grateful I can soon gain some comfort and relief through this promising therapy.  I appreciate the help from the folks at SYNTAC to bring this to reality, and to Health Canada for putting the patient first in this important decision.”

From years of promising research the folks at SYNTAC, more and more continues to emerge “suggesting that psychedelic-assisted therapeutic approached to mental and emotional health conditions demonstrate remarkable efficiency and outcomes for a variety of conditions including end-of-life distress, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety,” reads the news release from the SYNTAC Institute via newswire.ca.

“We are extremely grateful to Health Canada and the Hon. Minister Hajdu and her team for delivering this exemption so that Mr. White can immediately access this innovative therapy,” stated David Harder, Executive Director of SYNTAC Institute in Calgary.

With an enormous increase of worsening mental health issues this year, Harder is excited to help push Canada in the right direction when it comes to this type of treatment.

With the traditional approach to mental health and wellness in Canada already struggling, COVID-19 is creating a tsunami of mental and emotional health challenges that threaten to overwhelm the Canadian healthcare system.  “We believe psychedelic medicines will be a huge part of the solution that Canadians need and deserve”, added Harder. 

“We are not only incredibly thrilled for Mr. White gaining immediate access to this powerful therapeutic tool, but also for every Canadian who is suffering with mental and emotional health challenges.  This is another step forward in the battle against our country’s mental health crisis.”

(According to Statistics Canada) Since COVID began;

  • 13 per cent fewer Canadians reported having excellent or very good mental health with 55 per cent in July 2020 down from 68 per cent in 2019.
  • Prior to COVID, youth aged 15-24 were the least likely to report excellent or very good mental health.
  • Youth reported the greatest declines with a 20 percentage point reduction from 60 per cent before COVID to 40 percent in July 2020.
  • Seniors aged 65 and older are the only group to date who have not experienced declines in mental health since the pandemic began.
  • Women continue to report lower levels of mental health compared with men – 52 per cent versus 58 per cent.
  • Those already experiencing poor mental health before COVID were impacted even more during COVID.


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