New Poll Shows Most Canadians Support Legalizing Psilocybin for Terminally Ill Patients

A new poll conducted in June this year shows that most Canadians support the legalization of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms (shrooms) for the treatment of terminally ill patients. Currently, magic mushrooms are listed in Schedule III of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in Canada. This makes the compound inaccessible for therapeutic purposes.

This categorization has remained even if a lot of research from globally respected research entities at New York University, Johns Hopkins, UCLA and Kings College London, among others, shows the irrefutable potential and safety of psychedelics in treating a variety of conditions.

TheraPsil, a Canadian advocacy group that conducted the June poll, says that they were surprised that so many Canadians approved of the use of psilocybin as a compassionate care medicine. The support indicated by 59% of the country’s population is clear testament that the existing policies and laws are out of sync with public opinion and available science, according to Spenser Hawkins, TheraPsil’s Executive Director.

The Victoria, B.C. based non-profit group aims at making it possible for palliative care Canadians to legally access psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in a medically-supervised way. The recent poll they commissioned is one of their ways to bring to the attention of policymakers and other interested parties the extent to which society approves of psilocybin as a medicinal substance.

Just over 1,500 Canadians participated in the poll and the results were weighted to account for different variables, such as religious affiliation, age and gender.

When respondents were informed in the online poll that magic mushrooms were currently illegal and then the participants were asked whether or not psilocybin (found in the shrooms) should be made legal for use by terminally ill patients, 41% strongly or somewhat agreed. This number jumped to 63% when those who were ambivalent were included. The data analysts who crunched the numbers were of the view that the ambivalent respondents were more likely to approve than to disagree with the legalization of psilocybin for end-of-life care.

Additionally, the number of respondents who either strongly or somewhat agreed that psilocybin should be legalized for people with terminal cancer and other conditions for which palliative care was needed increased to 59% once the poll participants were told that the latest scientific studies show that psilocybin was helpful in treating the distress experienced by terminally ill cancer patients. When the ambivalent respondents were included, the number of those in support grew to 78%.

TheraPsil says these findings make a strong case for applying pressure on the Canadian Health minister to consider the requests of patients who want to use psilocybin under the “Right to Try” provision found in section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

It would be interesting to hear what predictions psychedelics companies like Salvation Botanicals have about the possible outcomes of a similar poll conducted in the U.S.

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