Canadian Senate Urges Immediate Action for Veterans’ Access to Psychedelic Therapies

Report calls for more large-scale studies to verify efficacy.

A Canadian Senate subcommittee recommended on Wednesday that the federal government take more urgent action to expand accessibility to psychedelic therapies for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Senate’s Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs issued a report entitled “The Time is Now: Granting equitable access to psychedelic-assisted therapies” highlighting the potential of psychedelics in treating PTSD while underscoring current barriers to access.

The subcommittee called on federal, provincial and territorial governments to launch and fund a large-scale research program on psychedelic-assisted therapy.

The report’s authors noted that despite evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of psychedelics, Canada has adopted a “wait-and-see approach” that is failing veterans struggling with major mental health problems.

“For most veterans struggling with PTSD and serious mental health issues, traditional therapy methods are slow, painful and often ineffective, noted Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, deputy chair of the subcommittee. “The evidence increasingly shows that psychedelic drugs — when paired with psychotherapy — can offer hope. Our veterans can’t afford to wait any longer for this treatment.” 

The subcommittee emphasized that based on their research, psychotherapy and slow-acting antidepressants do not consistently address military or combat-related PTSD, while indicating that psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA might offer transformative effects.

They suggested an urgent need for comprehensive research to validate their efficacy. The report’s authors also stated that large-scale clinical research is the only way to make these substances available to veterans due to their legal status.