Published on
January 8, 2021

Legal Psychedelic Therapy Comes to Alberta With Ground-Breaking Health Canada Decision

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Alberta man facing incurable cancer approved for innovative psychedelic-assisted therapy for end-of-life mental health challenges

CALGARY, AB, Dec. 30, 2020 /CNW/ - SYNTAC Institute ("SYNTAC"), an Alberta-based non-profit organization dedicated to bringing legal psychedelic-assisted therapy to Canadians, is pleased to confirm that it has facilitated the first announced approval from Health Canada for an Alberta-based patient facing a terminal illness diagnosis.

The legal exemption from the Canadian Drugs and Substances Act, granted by the Office of Controlled Substances at Health Canada, paves the way for Calgary resident Anthony White to immediately undergo psilocybin-assisted treatment to deal with the severe mental health challenges that come with a terminal medical diagnosis.  White's situation has been even more difficult to contend with as he is in his forties and has a young daughter.

Under the Section 56 Exemption approved by Health Canada, White will now be eligible to participate in a therapy process overseen by a medical team that includes the use of psilocybin, an active hallucinogenic substance found in "magic mushrooms".

"Facing this devastating prognosis has been incredibly difficult, but I am grateful I can soon gain some comfort and relief through this promising therapy.  I appreciate the help from the folks at SYNTAC to bring this to reality, and to Health Canada for putting the patient first in this important decision."

Encouraging research continues to emerge that suggests psychedelic-assisted therapeutic approaches to mental and emotional health conditions demonstrate remarkable efficacy and outcomes for a variety of conditions including end-of-life distress, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety.

"We are extremely grateful to Health Canada and the Hon. Minister Hajdu and her team for delivering this exemption so that Mr. White can immediately access this innovative therapy," stated David Harder, Executive Director of SYNTAC Institute in Calgary.

"We are also deeply appreciative of the tireless efforts of Dr. Bruce Tobin and his team at Therapsil in Victoria B.C. for putting in so much of the groundwork required for this kind of announcement to be possible."

With the traditional approach to mental health and wellness in Canada already struggling, COVID-19 is creating a tsunami of mental and emotional health challenges that threaten to overwhelm the Canadian healthcare system.  "We believe psychedelic medicines will be a huge part of the solution that Canadians need and deserve", added Harder.  

"We are not only incredibly thrilled for Mr. White gaining immediate access to this powerful therapeutic tool, but also for every Canadian who is suffering with mental and emotional health challenges.  This is another step forward in the battle against our country's mental health crisis."


SYNTAC Institute is a non-profit organization located in Calgary, Alberta with a mission to bring the healing and transformative power of psychedelic medicine and psychedelic-assisted therapy to Canadians.  SYNTAC advocates for a healthcare environment where each individual is empowered to explore, optimize and heal themselves and their community through evidence-based science and the inner intelligence of psychedelics, in conjunction with appropriately trained and experienced mental health and medical professionals.  For more information, visit


For further information: Greg Habstritt, Communications Director, SYNTAC Institute,, (403) 215-7510; David Harder, Executive Director, SYNTAC Institute,