Canadian doctor agrees to stop using ayahuasca to treat addictions

Health Canada is threatening to prosecute a Vancouver physician using the Amazonian plant medicine ayahuasca to treat addiction.

In a letter sent last week, the director of Ottawa’s Office of Controlled Substances reminded Dr. Maté that posession of ayahuasca is illegal Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Dr. Maté, a family practitioner who specializes in addiction, said he will reluctantly comply with the order.

“I have no intention of breaking the law,” he said in an interview. “But I hope to get permission to use it in therapeutic context. I’m surprised no one thought to talk to me before sending the letter, but I suppose someone in Ottawa is just doing their job.”

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