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Alberta will be the first Canadian province to regulate psychedelics for therapeutic use, government officials announced on Wednesday. Under the plan, the provincial government will regulate the psychedelic psilocybin, psilocin, MDMA, LSD, mescaline, DMT, 5 methoxy DMT and ketamine as a treatment for psychiatric disorders.

Psychedelics show promise as breakthrough therapies for mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, PTSD and substance misuse disorders.

Before using administering psychedelics to patients with mental health disorders, medical doctors would be required to apply to the province for a license. All treatment with psychedelics would require the oversight of a psychiatrist. The new regulations also require that only qualified professionals administer the drugs in a healthcare facility, unless the patient is in palliative care. Staff must monitor patients while they are in an altered mental state caused by the drugs and are required to report any serious injuries or deaths to the government immediately. The regulations are less restrictive for ketamine and doses of other drugs too low to cause psychedelic effects.

“This is a tectonic shift in the cultural relevance and awareness of psychedelics“

WHAT IS PSYCHEDELIC THERAPY?
Psychedelic therapy is a type of assisted therapy which uses controlled doses of various psychedelic psychoactive substances (microdosing) to help the healing process. Substances such as LSD, psilocybin and DMT can be used in this kind of therapy.

Good monitoring is essential in psychedelic therapy, Experiences with these substances vary widely between subjects and professional monitoring serves to guarantee that everything goes safely and smoothly.

The therapy process

If you’re interested you might have many questions, such as:

  • How many total sessions do you need?
  • What can someone expect to experience?

What happens during psychedelic therapy?

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It’s common to start with a few preparatory sessions with your therapist, which may include:

  • reviewing and granting informed consent to your therapist and their practice
  • engaging in psychotherapy
  • participating in 2-3 dosing sessions with the psychedelic medicine

During these therapeutic sessions, you might:

  • lay on a couch or mat on the ground
  • wear eye shades to keep an internal focus on the session
  • wear headphones, as music can be an important part of the therapy session
  • be guided by the therapist to focus your attention inward and work through emotions or experiences that may come up

What type of feelings or sensations might come up?

A person’s experience can largely depend on the substance and dosage used. However, Buller notes that someone may experience:

  • a sense of timelessness
  • a sense of ego dissolution
  • a feeling that you could be dying, which is sometimes known as “ego death”
  • a mystical-type feeling of spiritual oneness
  • the sense that all things are connected
  • reliving past memories and experiences, including traumatic ones
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