The Special Access Program is a program regulated by Health Canada that allows people to access certain medications that are not yet authorized or available to the general public.
Historically, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies have not been available for application through the Special Access Program due to past regulatory exclusions. That meant that these therapies were only available for short periods of time to small numbers of people who were participating in clinical trials.
However, Health Canada has made recent amendments to add certain psychedelic therapies back to the program. That means physicians can now request access to treatments, including MDMA- and psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, on behalf of people who have serious, treatment-resistant, or life-threatening conditions. With these changes, the program has the potential to positively affect the lives of those who have serious health conditions when other therapies have failed, are unsuitable, or are unavailable in Canada.
Behind the scenes, a growing body of scientific evidence supports this regulatory change. Research is increasingly showing evidence of the efficacy and safety of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to treat a broad range of mental health conditions that, otherwise, are difficult to treat when using conventional therapies.