(CNN)The Canadian government will allow four patients with incurable cancer to receive psilocybin therapy, which uses the drug found in the so-called "magic mushrooms" or "shrooms," to ease their end-of-life distress.
The Canadian government is allowing 4 terminally ill patients to use psychedelic mushrooms to help ease their anxiety
The landmark decision by Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, marks the first time since 1974 that a legal exemption has been given in Canada for patients to access psychedelic treatment, according to a news release on Tuesday by TheraPsil, a non-profit organization working to help Canadians gain access to psilocybin therapy.
Laurie Brooks, one of the four terminally ill patients, expressed her gratitude for the approval, which comes over 100 days after the four patients made their plea to the government.
"The acknowledgment of the pain and anxiety that I have been suffering with means a lot to me, and I am feeling quite emotional today as a result," Brooks said in a statement. "I hope this is just the beginning and that soon all Canadians will be able to access psilocybin, for therapeutic use, to help with the pain they are experiencing, without having to petition the government for months to gain permission."
Thomas Hartle, another one of the patients, told CTV News in June that thinking about his inevitable death triggered his anxiety on a daily basis.
"It gives you a rapid heart rate. It makes you feel terrible," he told the Canadian TV network, adding that his anti-anxiety medication wasn't helping as much as he wanted.
That's why he and three others urged the government to make a legal exemption for them to use the drug, which has been illegal in Canada for about 46 years.
Growing research has shown that psilocybin, the drug found in psychedelic mushrooms, significantly relieves anxiety and depression in patients with advanced cancer.