Canadian Senators Call For ‘Immediate’ Launch Of Psychedelics Research Program


A Canadian Senate committee is calling on the federal government to launch a large-scale research program to study the use of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA to treat mental health conditions in military veterans, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The committee criticized Veterans Affairs Canada’s current “wait-and-see” approach to psychedelic medicine, calling it “ill-suited” to meet the moment. They argue that the agency should be doing everything in its power to improve the health of veterans, particularly those who have exhausted all other treatment options.

The committee believes that a comprehensive research program would ensure that the government is doing its part to explore all potential therapeutic options for veterans and determine whether psychedelic treatment is effective.

“Research on these subjects is constantly evolving and will continue to do so. No one can predict whether progress will be spectacular or whether there will be setbacks. What we know today is that there is no reason to wait for results from other countries, because the results would still need to be confirmed for our veterans,” the report says. “It is the Government of Canada’s duty to assure veterans that it is doing everything in its power, immediately, to respect its solemn commitment to support, at any cost, those who chose to defend us with honour.”

Sen. David Richards, chair of the subcommittee, said that the panel “heard harrowing stories from veterans who have returned home from conflict zones only to face the darkest moment of their lives.”

“The research into psychedelic-assisted therapy is too promising to ignore,” he said. “Our veterans sacrifice so much—we must do everything we can to help them.”

The report from the subcommittee—which falls under the Committee on National Security and Defence—is titled “The Time is Now: Granting equitable access to psychedelic-assisted therapies.” But contrary to the implication, members made clear that they are not recommending that substances be made immediately available for regulated use in the short-term. Rather, they argue the science must guide next steps before therapeutic access is widely approved.