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Estates & Wills & Trusts

Afraid of dying? Take your mushroom

By Ian Hull

Estate law is centred on asset planning for an end-of-life experience. So not surprisingly, we’ve seen just about every end-of-life situation you can imagine. I can tell you first-hand, many of these situations are painful, fearful, and depressing.

Does it have to be this way? The answer, in many cases, is “no.” We’re beginning to learn about new treatments that can help – and one of the most promising is the use of psilocybin, the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Thank you legal cannabis

The legalization of cannabis in Canada and many U.S. states is breaking down barriers for research that was previously taboo, illegal, or underfunded. This is especially so in areas of mental health.

The treatment of physical pain with restricted drugs like morphine has long been accepted. But the use of mind-altering drugs for mental health? Not so much.

That stigma is changing. We’re on the edge of a new frontier in the treatment of “mental pain” – anxiety, depression, and fear of death – and psilocybin is front and centre.

Research has shown that one of the most promising uses for psilocybin is in end-of-life situations. For those with a terminal illness, psychedelics not only provide relief from the terror of dying during the actual psychedelic sessions but for weeks and months after.

According to researchers, psilocybin can create a deeper meaning and understanding of terminal situations – and is helpful in relieving the agony of the inevitability of death. Patients could reassure themselves and their loved ones that from a mental standpoint, they truly were okay. Many reported that using psilocybin was one of the most important experiences of their life. You can read more about the studies here.

Change is coming

There are calls for psilocybin to be reclassified for medical use, paving the way for the drug to be used to treat a number of mental health conditions – from fear of death, to depression, to addiction. The New York Times discussed this movement in a recent article.

This new attitude embracing research into the possible use of psychedelics for mental health is a welcome change. I look forward to the findings.

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