On Tuesday, Laurie Brooks received the news she's waited more than 100 days to hear — she now has the legal right to use magic mushrooms.
"I was pretty emotional. I was surprised," the 53-year-old Abbotsford, B.C. mother of four told CBC.
"Just to have that recognition … that what I was fighting for was worthwhile, it meant a lot to me."
Brooks has had two bouts with colon cancer and has struggled with psychological distress as she reckons with the possibility of imminent death.
She's one of four Canadians with terminal cancer who received approval this week from the federal government for an exemption from drug laws that have made psilocybin — the active ingredient in magic mushrooms — illegal since 1974.
Psilocybin has shown promise in relieving end-of-life distress for palliative cancer patients, but it's still undergoing clinical trials that are necessary before it can be made widely available to the public.
The four patients applied for their exemptions with help from the advocacy group TheraPsil, which argues that terminally ill patients deserve compassionate access to something that might help with their anguish when other treatments have failed.
The group's founder, Victoria psychotherapist Bruce Tobin, applauded the federal government for allowing the patients access to psilocybin.