You are here
Home > News > Canadian University Granted License To Study Psilocybin Mushrooms

Canadian University Granted License To Study Psilocybin Mushrooms

Dr. Max Jones and Dr. Gale Bozzo, two professors at UG’s Ontario Agricultural College (Department of Plant Agriculture), received a Health Canada “dealer’s license” on Oct. 25. It allows for the cultivation and use of psilocybin mushrooms. This is the license that was issued to the University of Guelph (one of the first Canadian universities to allow this).

“We are very excited about this approval as it will allow us to study these psychedelic mushrooms to better understand their biology and genetics, examine what other functional compounds they might contain, and provide well-characterized and chemically consistent material for preclinical and potentially clinical evaluation,” Jones said. In November 2018, Jones also received a licence to study cannabis. 

Jones says that there are 200 different species of mushrooms which can make psilocybin. “Those species aren’t that closely related; they’re diverse,” Jones said in a press release. “So that makes scientists like me wonder: what else are these mushrooms producing? If you have 200 species producing a compound that affects the human brain, it’s likely they are producing other interesting compounds, too.”

Popular treatments for disorders such as addiction, depression, OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder include Psilocybin Therapy. According to Dr. Melissa Perreault, Professor in Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and another researchers involved with the study, there’s a specific function that they’re hoping to examine. “There are many already working with psilocybin, but we’re interested in the potential biological activity of some of the other compounds in these mushrooms and whether they have any therapeutic value alone or in combination with psilocybin,” Perreault said.

Perreault’s experience has previously involved studies of the molecular and cellular mechanisms associated with medical conditions like depression or autism spectrum disorders. Perreault plans to investigate the potential signaling pathways that may be affected by psilocybin. “If there is any potential therapeutic value in these compounds, we would then bring them into some of the models I work with, such as those used to study specific aspects of depression or autism, to examine their therapeutic effects,” Perreault said.

Jones stated that increasing access to mushrooms will enable more scientific research. “There is a real need for a public supply of these mushrooms,” Jones said. We aim to create a supply of mushrooms to be used for preclinical and perhaps clinical trials in which the genetics and cultivation methodologies will be fully disclosed to researchers and the public.”

A press release states that scientists plan to create a synthetic method of growing mushrooms to allow them to reproduce it. Most mushrooms can be grown with manure or grain.

Psilocybin mushroom interest continues to rise among medical professionals. Earlier this year in January, one organization presented evidence of mushroom’s therapeutic qualities and announced its intention to have the substance rescheduled in the United Nations 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances Act. An August study in the journal was published. JAMA PsychiatryThe potential of psilocybin to cure alcohol dependence was demonstrated. The University of Copenhagen started investigating the use of psilocybin in treating obesity around mid-September. Johns Hopkins University just announced last week that they will conduct a study to determine if psilocybin helps patients stop smoking. The substance has even become the muse for numerous high-profile musicians, such as Björk, Ellie Goulding, Kid Cudi, and Lil Nas X.

Oregon will soon have its rules for regulating psilocybin in place by December 2022. Several other states present psilocybin exemptions on November’s ballot.