The Psilocybin Chronicles - Tales from The Legal Frontier - A Podcast

Access to controlled drugs as medicinal tools has always been always fraught with moral and ethical challenges. There are also extraordinary regulatory delays and obstacles to making therapeutics available. Regrettably, those who need these treatments most often pay the steepest price. Seeking permission to access, procure, and use psychedelics to better treat people with serious conditions is governed by section 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”) and the Special Access Program (“SAP”). On January 5, 2022, the Food and Drug Regulations, governing the “SAP” were amended to allow healthcare practitioners to request access to restricted drugs which were previously prohibited. Health Canada revised its Special Access Program for drugs: Guidance document for industry and practitioners to reflect these amendments. While the change appeared to a quantum leap from a legal perspective, the facts on the ground tell a different story. Access for the potentially thousands of Canadians who may benefit from these breakthrough drugs and therapies has been problematic. This podcast is about the patients, physicians, legal eagles and organizations that are doing battle to right a system that is simply not working.

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Monday Jul 31, 2023

The Psilocybin Chronicles: Tales from the Legal Frontier - Episode 02: Paul Lewin
In this episode of the Psilocybin Chronicles, Tales from the Legal Frontier. I speak with Paul Lewin, a veteran constitutional lawyer, who over 20 years ago played a key role in successfully challenging the constitutionality of the laws prohibiting access to marijuana for medicinal use. He, along with a dedicated team of lawyers, is now leading a similar challenge, claiming that prohibition of psilocybin for medicinal purposes violates Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As Paul aptly puts it, the beating heart of this case are Canadians with terrible health issues seeking access to safe and effective treatment.

Sunday May 28, 2023

In our inaugural podcast, I speak with Thomas Hartle, a father and husband, who was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2016.  Since then he has completed approximately 80 chemotherapy treatments.  At one of his lowest points, Thomas discovered the healing properties of psilocybin, which turned out to the be only modality that successfully, and without side-effects, alleviated the acute anxiety experienced due to his illness.  He became the first Canadian to receive an exemption to use psilocybin as a treatment.  The process Thomas had to go through was cumbersome and expensive.  While his first request was granted, it was valid for a one-year period.  His second application for an additional one-year exemption was denied after a 511 day wait.  Had you spoken to Thomas prior to 2016, you would have never imagined that a few years later he would become the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Canadian Government claiming access to therapeutic psilocybin is a constitutional right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for the thousands of Canadians that can benefit from the treatment.   This is his story.   


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