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Finland grants license for psychedelic drug therapy study

A Canadian drug firm is recruiting 50 people in Finland who suffer from alcohol addiction.

Kasa psykedeelisiä psilosybiinisieniä puisella alustalla.
Scientists want to find out if psychedelic drug therapy can reduce excessive drinking. Image: Lauri Rautavuori / Yle
Yle News

The Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) has granted Clairvoyant Therapeutics, a Canadian drug company, permission to study the effects of psychedelic drug therapies for the treatment of alcohol addiction. 

Fimea's approval marks the first time psychedelic drug trials will be carried out in Finland. The clinical trial will investigate psilocybin, a compound found in psychedelic mushrooms, for the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD). 

In total Clairvoyant is recruiting 160 participants for the trial, 50 of whom are Finnish. Others clinical sites are in Canada and Bulgaria. 

Finnish subjects will include both women and men who report consuming more than four to five alcohol servings in one sitting at least six times per month. 

Subjects will receive psilocybin every four weeks and also participate in psychotherapy sessions. 

Clairvoyant CEO Damian Kettlewell told Yle via email that Finland's good treatment networks for alcoholism made it a favourable clinical site. 

The company will begin recruiting Finnish patients in January of next year. The company said it hopes to obtain approval for psilocybin therapy for alcohol use disorder in the EU, UK and Canada in 2026. 

Samuli Kangaslampi, who chairs the Finnish Association for Psychedelic Research, said psilocybin can temporarily "open up" the brain, allowing radical change to take place. 

"Particularly in the case of addictions, it’s about getting stuck in certain patterns of thinking...psilocybin can help change that," Kangaslampi explained. 

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