Saturday, Oct. 21
09:00 – 10:30 (1.5 hrs)
Meeting Room: Grand Ballroom (Grand Ballroom Level – North Tower)
Joshua Rosenblat*, MD, FRCPC; Sarah Hales, MD, PhD, FRCPC; Shannon Dames, RN, MPH, EdD
- Medical Expert
At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Review the evidence for psilocybin therapy for depression and cancer-related distress; 2) Appreciate Canadian regulations for using psilocybin in clinical and research settings; and 3) Discuss special considerations and potential barriers for the clinical implementation of psilocybin therapy in Canada.
Psilocybin is a naturally occurring classic psychedelic found in ‘magic mushrooms’ that reliably occasions an altered state of consciousness at moderate to high doses. Numerous clinical trials have recently evaluated psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy (PAP) for a broad range of psychiatric conditions. Most studies have evaluated PAP specifically for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and cancer-related psychological distress. In this session, Drs. Hales, Rosenblat, and Dames will discuss the evidence, reasons for caution, clinical implementation, and regulatory considerations for PAP, with a special focus on the rapidly evolving Canadian landscape. Dr. Rosenblat will provide an overview of the recently published Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments task force report on psychedelic treatments for MDD and present results from the first investigator-initiated psilocybin trial in Canada. Dr. Hales will describe cancer-related applications of PAP, with a focus on a new PAP protocol she has developed for this population. Dr. Dames will present on regulatory considerations for clinical practice, including a review of the Special Access Program and innovative approaches to making PAP more scalable and available (e.g., group PAP, virtual preparation, and integration). The session will provide a clear understanding of the promising results supporting PAP for MDD and cancer-related distress, balanced with appreciating the preliminary nature of these findings, requiring cautious optimism when considering clinical implementation.
- Rosenblat JD, Husain MI, Lee Y, et al. The Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) task force report: serotonergic psychedelic treatments for major depressive disorder. Can J Psychiatry 2023;68(1):5–21.
- Goodwin GM, Aaronson ST, Alvarez O, et al. Single-dose psilocybin for a treatment-resistant episode of major depression. N Engl J Med 2022;387(18):1637–1648.