VICTORIA, British Columbia, June 17, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pressure grows on Health Minister, Patty Hajdu, as palliative Canadians wait for the health minister’s response to their Section 56 applications regarding access to psilocybin mushrooms on compassionate grounds. TheraPsil, a Canadian BC-based non-profit coalition of healthcare professionals has expanded its program and is now inviting Ontario patients to come forward for support of their section 56 applications.

For information about TheraPsil’s program, visit

TheraPsil has supported and is aware of at least 4 dying Canadians who have applied directly to the Health Minister for access to psilocybin-assisted therapy to treat their end-of-life distress. Two of the four palliative patients have come forward to share their stories and encourage others in their position to to explore their options.

One patient, Saskatchewan resident Thomas Hartle was diagnosed with colon cancer in April, 2016, and exhausted all other treatment options.

“As you can imagine, this obviously causes quite a bit of anxiety,” Thomas told us. “There isn’t anything any doctor can tell me or any pill they can give me that can say that everything will definitely be ok after you die. But the research shows that psilocybin may be able to help me with the ‘end of life distress’.  So, I have submitted a section 56 application to Patty Hajdu asking for an exemption to use psilocybin with my doctor and therapist. I have asked her to respond to my application by June 25th so I may live out my remaining time in peace.”

Another Patient, BC resident Laurie Brooks has released the following video documenting her struggle with end of life distress and reasoning for requesting psilocybin-access:

Embed Laurie Video:

Laurie Says;

“I think it’s so wrong that people don’t have access to this drug.  People are living with anxiety and emotional pain and studies show that psilocybin helps. Why are we not allowing people to have this drug but allow them to have other drugs that are so harmful? We have given people the right to die, but I’m not there yet.  What about living? I believe I should have the right to live without anxiety and fear, to be able to enjoy whatever time I have left.  Psilocybin can do that for me and for other Canadians who are dealing with the same issues.”

Everyday without a response increases a patient’s suffering. Here is what one of the applicants’ doctors, Crosbie Watler MD, had to say;

“My Patient has been waiting an excess of 8 weeks for a response from the Hon. Health Minister. This is unacceptable. No dying Canadian should have to reach to the highest levels of government to ask for legal access to a mushroom, just to be ignored. Patients have the right to die in Canada, so surely we must be able to give them the right to try a plant-based medicine that has been proven with clinical research to be a safe and effective.”

All eyes are now on the Minister of Health, to respond to patient applications.

For information about TheraPsil’s inclusion criteria, and program, visit

Interested Health care professionals, and individuals experiencing end-of-life distress are invited to confidentially contact TheraPsil on the TheraPsil website.

Media Contact:         
Holly Bennett, Director of Communications,

All other inquiries:   
Spencer Hawkswell, Executive Director,