Health Canada Approves First Psilocybin Treatment for Cluster Headaches

A historic decision granting emergency access to psilocybin for Jody Lance, a Calgary man suffering from debilitating cluster headaches.

Health Canada Approves First Psilocybin Treatment for Cluster Headaches

On June 7, 2024, Health Canada granted a Special Access Program (SAP) request by Dr. Jeptha Davenport to use psilocybin to treat Jody Lance’s cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are an excruciating condition, with some studies finding it to be more painful than gunshot wounds, kidney stones, or childbirth.

This is the first time a patient has been granted legal access to psilocybin for cluster headaches in Canada.

The SAP authorization and s. 56(1) exemption let Mr. Lance possess and self-administer 8 doses of 12 mg of Filament Health’s psilocybin extract over the course of 4 days upon the onset of a cluster headache attack.

This decision came after the Federal Court allowed Hameed Law’s application for judicial review and overturned the initial SAP refusal because it lacked the requisite degree of transparency, justification, and intelligibility. The Court also found the decision was unreasonable because Health Canada failed to address arguments we made that the decision engaged Mr. Lance’s rights under s. 7 of the Charter to life, liberty, and security of the person.