Finland licenses psychedelic drug therapy research


A Canadian drug company recruits 50 people in Finland who suffer from alcohol addiction.

Scientists want to know if psychedelic drug therapy can reduce excessive drinking. Image: Lauri Rautavuori / Yle

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

Fimea’s approval marks the first time psychedelic drugs are being tested in Finland. The clinical trial will investigate psilocybin, a compound found in psychedelic mushrooms, for the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

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Clairvoyant recruits a total of 160 participants for the trial, 50 of whom are Finnish. Other clinical sites are in Canada and Bulgaria.

Finnish test subjects are both women and men who report consuming more than four to five glasses of alcohol in one sitting at least six times a month.

The subjects are given psilocybin every four weeks and also participate in psychotherapy sessions.

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

The company will start recruiting Finnish patients in January next year. The company said it hopes to gain approval for psilocybin therapy for alcohol addiction in the EU, UK and Canada by 2026.

Samuli Kangaslampiwho chairs the Finnish Association for Psychedelic Research, said psilocybin can temporarily “open up” the brain, allowing radical changes to take place.

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“Especially in the case of addictions, it’s about getting stuck in certain thinking patterns… psilocybin can change that,” explains Kangaslampi.