VANCOUVER — Vancouver magic mushrooms up all over Vancouver. One of the classier ones looks like a wellness boutique: clean white script on green signage above windows showcasing potted plants and teak furniture. Across downtown, a broken overhead sign and frosted windows make up the conspicuously inconspicuous facade of a dark cubbyhole beside a parking garage that sells magic mushrooms, a hallucinogenic fungus containing the chemical psilocybin.
It’s a business model that carries significant risks. Psilocybin is considered a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, meaning its sale, possession and cultivation are illegal without an exemption from Health Canada. But psilocybin can help alleviate anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and addiction if paired with psychotherapy, according to research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Psychedelic Journeys in the Nation’s Capital: Ottawa’s Psilocybin Mushroom Scene
The psilocybin mushroom, which is native to BC, is known for its ability to alter perception and induce spiritual experiences. During a trip, a person can experience new insights about themselves, their environment and the universe. The Journeymen Collective, a company that provides guided mushroom ceremonies, offers a way to get those experiences in luxury settings like hotels and private residences. It also teaches a series of integration practices to ensure participants can take what they’ve learned on the ride and integrate it into their daily lives.
The group hopes to change the perception of psilocybin from recreational drugs to therapeutic tools. It’s also working to decriminalize the use of psychedelics in Canada, which isn’t scheduled to do so until 2023.