A Vancouver-based psychedelics company has become the first in Canada to complete a legal harvest of magic mushrooms since the last wave of psychedelic research ended there in the 1970s. This milestone opens up new possibilities, including the production of magic mushroom chocolates.
Numinus Bioscience, a healthcare company with a focus on research and product development, announced the harvest of its first flush of psilocybe mushrooms yesterday at its licensed facility in Nanaimo, B.C., where it operates a research and testing laboratory. The firm is developing formulations and solutions intended for use in the burgeoning psychedelic therapy space, and received a license from Health Canada to grow and extract magic mushrooms as recently as June of this year.
The license, issued under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, allows Numinus to test, import, store, and distribute MDMA, psilocybin, psilocin (two compounds present in psychedelic mushrooms), DMT and mescaline. In May, the company went public on the TSX Venture Exchange, making it one of the first psychedelic firms to do so in North America.
An Important First
This new first, according to CEO Payton Nyquvest, is a crucial step in the growing movement in Canada by both public and private companies and the federal health agency to support research into novel psychedelic substances that may benefit people who are suffering from end-of-life anxiety, mental illness, substance use, and more.
Numinus has recently harvested its first flush of psilocybe mushrooms.
“As a whole, I think we’ve seen over the past few weeks and months this continuing support from Health Canada and regulators around access to psilocybin- and psilocin-assisted therapies,” he says, referencing the agency’s recent decision to grant an exemption for use to four terminally ill Canadians. “It’s a big step forward in terms of being able to execute on our goal of providing access, and providing these therapies for the people that really need it.”
Nyquvest admits that while he’s grateful the process of obtaining a license happened quickly, it came with its share of challenges.
“It’s a lot of hoop jumping,” he says. “It’s been a short time frame from application for this new license to harvest, but there was a lot of work done previously to lay the groundwork and foundation to be where we are today.” The firm’s lab in Nanaimo had been operating as a licensed cannabis testing facility for several years prior to receiving a research license for psychedelic substances.
Why Develop A Natural Extraction?
Michael Tan, the company’s chief operating officer, says the fruiting bodies harvested in this first flush will be used in the development of non-synthetic mushroom extracts.
“Our aspiration is to develop a biological-based psilocybin product to be used in clinical trials, and ultimately approved as an alternative to currently available formats,” says Tan, noting that most current research uses synthetic psilocybin.
While research certainly does show that psilocybin and other psychedelic substances can be useful for people suffering from particular conditions and ailments (specifically around mental health), both Nyquvest and Tan say their ultimate goal is to make psilocybin-assisted therapy available to the masses.