In January 2021, a terminal cancer patient from Airdrie city in Alberta received the first federally approved magic mushroom treatment. Furthermore, Mid-February saw the opening of the first-ever clinic in Calgary that will use psychedelic therapy.
The ATMA Urban Journey Clinic is located in the northwest of Calgary. It will also serve as a training center for professionals in the mental health space across Canada.
David Harder, the clinic’s CEO, stated that the facility was a product of decades spent on research and trial studies. He further told The Homestretch that psychedelic drug therapy’s effects are opposite to psychotic medications or antidepressants.
These psychotic medications and antidepressants do suppress or numb down what is happening to emotions and the spirit body. On the other hand, psychedelics will raise the things happening to your feelings and spirit body. Consequently, they will allow you to work with you and deal with what’s holding you back. The psychedelics therapy will hold back your anxiety, depression, or PTSD and help treat it.
Tony White, the terminal cancer patient from Airdrie, confessed that the magic mushroom helped him get over the anxiety and depression and anxiety accumulated ever-since he found out that he had terminal cancer.
He received the therapy on 1st January. In mid-January, White acknowledged that he felt more peaceful during the therapy exercise.
Although it is still in clinical trials, Psilocybin, an active found in magic mushrooms, has shown great potential in relieving end-of-life distress in palliative cancer patients.
To date, Health Canada only allows using Psilocybin in treating terminally ill patients and for individual therapy sessions. The new ATMA Urban Journey Clinic will start partaking in this mandate.
Moreover, Harder hopes to see the clinic scale up. He admitted that they are applying for an exemption, which will help many people with mental conditions, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Health Canada seems open to the ideal but they are very cautious for the sake of safety.
For now, the clinic will continue magic mushroom therapy, which is partly due to safety reasons.
Harder also explained that it is tough to find psychedelic drugs that are of high purity. Most of them are laced with cutting agents and fentanyl.
As a result, the clinic is only extracting mushrooms till now. Since it is only a dry mushroom, Health Canada says that it is safer than many white powder drugs that are used as psychedelics.
The clinic offers therapy for palliative care for free. Harder assured that it will charge mental health treatments only for the therapist’s time, sitting time, and therapy treatment. Otherwise, they charge nothing for palliative care as they are giving back to the community.
Harder noted that the exemption application is going through a screening process. Also, he said that each mental health case can vary. However, each participant will have counseling sessions before and afterward. A couple of experts work during the 4 to 5-hour psychedelic experience, including a psychologist, a therapist, and a psychiatrist.
Dr. Ravinder Bains, a psychiatrist who doubles up as the clinic’s Chief Medical Officer, will oversee the psychedelic therapy.
Harder said that once psychedelic therapy is extensively accepted, it promises to treat a broad range of conditions.
The studies are already done, and the clinic is sure that the therapy is safe, productive, and helpful. With the ever-growing mental health cases in Canada, psychedelics could be the solution that will avert this crisis.