As the stigma around psilocybin shrooms in Canada dissipates, it’s finding its way into the mainstream, a trend that is being fueled by a growing number of people seeking relief from mental health issues. While luxury shamanic retreats and private psilocybin sessions may be out of reach for many, psilocybin shrooms are available in dispensaries all across the country, where they’re marketed as safe and effective.
While psilocybin is a Schedule III drug regulated under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, it has been decriminalized in some countries and legalized for medical use in others. The drug is derived from the fungus Psilocybe semilla and is known by a variety of names, including magic mushrooms. It’s been used for centuries to treat anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance abuse.
Psychedelic Renaissance: Canada’s Magic Mushroom Subculture
Despite being illegal to sell and possess in Canada, dispensaries that offer mushrooms have been popping up with the same frequency as cannabis shops. Hathaway says the mushroom dispensaries create an opportunity for consumers and serve as a form of activism to raise awareness about the drug’s potential therapeutic benefits.
At one Vancouver location called Zoomers, the gray exterior belies a mosaic of psychedelia inside, with paintings of Incan gods spewing lightning and fire. Dana Larsen, the store’s proprietor, says customers come to him to untangle emotions and find forgiveness and peace. He offers followup coaching to help them apply their insights to their lives, and he says his business is booming thanks to word-of-mouth.