Amid the psychedelic mania over marijuana, another drug is making waves: magic mushrooms. Known as Psilocybe cubensis or Psilocybe semilanceata, the mushroom’s mind-altering compounds can help people find spiritual meaning in their lives and heal from traumatic events.

Canada’s magic mushroom scene is booming, and despite being a controlled substance, it’s becoming more accepted as a medicine for those seeking self-discovery. But it’s not without controversy. Psilocybin is illegal to produce, buy or sell unless approved by Health Canada, but the government has begun testing drugs that contain the compound and private investors are backing companies like Wake to bring psilocybin out of the underground.

“Fungi Frontier: Exploring the Rise of Magic Mushrooms in Canada

As of 2022, there are a handful of brick-and-mortar stores across the country selling psilocybin mushrooms and their products. Some of these shops are raided and some are not. But advocates say they’re serving a real need for people who want to experience psilocybin to help them with mental illness, addiction and depression.

The Vancouver-based company Optimi Health is one of the newer players in the psilocybin market. Its Health Canada-licensed facility in Princeton, B.C., is expected to produce 2,000 kilograms of dried psilocybin a month. The $14-million project is a big step for the psychedelic industry, putting the B.C. company at the forefront of the global psilocybin market.

For those who can’t afford luxury shamanic retreats or don’t have the medical clearance to self-medicate, there are now for-profit psilocybin startups that offer a guided version of the experience with followup coaching to help participants integrate their experiences into everyday life. But they’re still fighting for legitimacy in a world where marijuana has become mainstream.

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