Therapeutic Psilocybin for Canadians in End-of-Life Distress

Based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and established in 2017, Thera-Psil is a coalition of healthcare professionals dedicated to safe psilocybin treatment for Canadians in palliative care with severe psychological distress.  Thera-Psil’s team of healthcare professionals operate at highest standards of clinical competence and ethical integrity. 

 

For qualifying patients, to confidently enroll in the treatment program, head to our get in touch page and fill out the form. 

 

TheraPsil’s 4 Pillar Mission

 

  • TREATMENT: Establish safe, compassionate and legal access to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for those in need

  • EDUCATION: Increase awareness of the merits and limitations of psychedelic treatment

  • TRAINING: Develop safe and effective protocols for credentialed health professionals to deliver psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy

  • RESEARCH: Facilitate reseach and clinical trials in collaboration with Canadian and Cascadia partners

 

Why We Exist

 

We believe that those who suffer from debilitating mental illnesses deserve access to effective therapies. We want to further Research, Educate and Train the medical community. We exist to bring psilocybin assisted psychotherapy to patients in need.

 

Where do we start?

 

Our initial focus will be on the provision of compassionate treatment for terminal cancer patients who suffer from end-of-life distress. End-of-life distress is best described as the combination of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and demoralization experienced by patients who receive a diagnosis of a terminal illness from diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or heart disease. As research in psychedelic medicine matures, we will further expand our services to include others who may benefit from psilocybin.

 

Treatment of End-of-Life Distress

 

“End-of-life distress” refers to the combination of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and demoralization experienced by patients who receive a diagnosis of a terminal illness from diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or heart disease. This emotional distress, which has a wide array of psychosocial and spiritual impacts and may be difficult to treat despite the best available psychotherapies and pharmacotherapies available today. While there is evidence based treatment for End-of-life distress that is not psychedelic based, it is seemingly inadequate; when compared to Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, that has demonstrated considerable success in treating anxiety-related to end-life distress and is an important additional intervention when other therapies have been found to be insufficient for a suffering patient/person.

Each year, approximately 2800 Canadians are given terminal cancer diagnoses, many of whom do not adequately respond to conventional treatment for end-of-life distress. Conventional therapy would include psychotherapy, of which there are many, including CBT, CALM Therapy, Dignity Therapy, Meaning Centred Psychotherapy, and others; as well as pharmacotherapy which would include the use of SSRIs, SNRIs, NDRIs, psychostimulants, and other agents. There is also a lack of consensus regarding what is defined as end of life distress as there is no technical medical diagnosis of “end of life distress”; people instead are treated for depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders. In many cases, their emotional pain interferes with their other medical procedures.

Since 2006, clinical trials and research endeavors at Johns Hopkins University and New York University have demonstrated that psilocybin, the active psychedelic component in what is often called “magic mushrooms,” has promising effects in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorders, in patients who have been given terminally ill cancer diagnoses and have found little relief from traditional methods of treatment.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy has been demonstrated to be a viable and legitimate adjunct or subsequent treatment of end-of-life distress. The studies at Johns Hopkins Medical Centre and New York University led to immediate, substantial, and sustained decreases in depression, death anxiety, cancer-related demoralization, and hopelessness (Ross et al. 2016). Furthermore, these clinical trials resulted in increases in quality of life, life meaning, and overall optimism. At the 6-month follow-up mark, 80% of participants regard their psilocybin experience to be in the top five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives (Griffiths et al. 2016). They subsequently reported improvements in attitudes about life/self, mood, relationships, and spirituality with significantly increased well-being/life satisfaction, and improved attitudes toward death.

 

“At the 6-month follow-up mark, 80% of participants continuing to show clinically significant decreases in depressed mood and anxiety”
– Griffiths et a.l 2016

 

Unfortunately, current access to psychedelic assisted psychotherapy this approach to therapy is almost non-existent and remains illegal in Canada. Neither do In addition we do not anticipate these medicines being made available to Canadians in the foreseeable future. At the current rate of progress, it may be years before psilocybin completes Phase 3 clinical trials and becomes available as a legitimate a Health Canada approved medical option. In the meantime, many Canadians continue to suffer from are suffering severely from end-of-life distress, and are in dire need of relief now.

 

 

Scientific Advocacy

 

We are pleased and honored to have the support and encouragement of three eminent American scientists who have been pioneers in the clinical research of psilocybin-assisted therapy. Much of our application is based on the work that they are contributing to modern science.

  • Dr. William Richards, Johns Hopkins Medical Center’s Psilocybin Research

  • Dr. Anthony Bossis, New York University

  • Dr. Charles Grob, Harbor-UCLA

These scientists have agreed to serve as expert witnesses for us in the event of litigation. If necessary, TheraPsil is prepared to fly these scientists to Canada and provide accommodation if summoned to court.

 

 

 

Could you – or a loved one – benefit from psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for end-of-life distress?  We would like to hear from you.

 

 

You can help us move forward towards making psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy available to Canadians facing end-of-life distress.

– Spread the word to your friends and colleagues
– Give a talk to a community group
– Write an op-ed piece or letter for your local newspaper
– Tell your story on this site about how psychedelic medicine has helped you personally
– Follow and Like TPC on Social Media

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