It’s been a few years since marijuana was legalized in Canada, and it’s high time we pay attention to other plants with great potential. According to psilocybin producers Optimi Health, magic mushrooms are the new frontier.
Vancouver millennials Dane Stevens and JJ Wilson are among the co-founders of Optimi Health, a company that’s making Canadian history with its large-scale production of legal, natural, and therapeutic psilocybin.
Optimi Health has invested millions to make its facilities in B.C. among the best in the world and was granted a dealer’s license by Health Canada earlier this year.
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The license allows Optimi to supply pharmaceutical-grade natural psilocybin to researchers and individual patients through Health Canada’s Special Access Program.
Optimi is now engaging in clinical trials to demonstrate the benefits of magic mushrooms in treating mental illness.
However, Wilson and Stevens believe that mushrooms have the potential to go mainstream.
“We see such a bigger picture and a bigger story than what’s being told today,” said Wilson in an interview with Curiocity.
In fact, it was an unexpected lightbulb moment at a friend’s wedding that inspired them to start Optimi Health in the first place.
“Dane and I were at a friend’s wedding and there were 250 people there, they were all kind of like us, millennials, and every single one of them was on the soft street version of psilocybin which is called a Scooby Snack,” said Wilson.
“We kind of had an ‘aha’ moment at the wedding and went, ‘Oh my god, there’s 250 millennials at this wedding, they’re all taking Scooby Snacks, they’re all using it as a product substitute for alcohol.”
“There’s this middle line of young professionals that are substituting it and using it as a way to better themselves.”
“It’s like the same feeling as two or three glasses of wine, but there’s the connotation of a health benefit associated with it.”
If Canada gets on board with legalizing psychedelics — as The Netherlands, Jamaica, and several U.S. states have — Stevens and Wilson believe that micro-dosing can become part of people’s “total health and wellness toolkit.”
Micro-dosing can not only benefit those who are suffering, but also those who are doing well and want to do better — what Wilson describes as the “good to great mentality.”
“If you’re good, not suffering from [mental health] conditions, this product can actually take you from good to great,” he said.
According to Stevens, that time is coming. “All it takes is one or two more of these studies or a politician to stand up and advocate for it to provide a regulated and safe product.”
If there’s anyone who is equipped to bring micro-dosing to the masses, it’s these two.
JJ Wilson, who is the eldest son of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, founded Ride Cycle Club and led the international expansion of Kit and Ace. Stevens is best known for his role as President of Cavalier Jewellers LTD and has founded several successful companies.
Despite the thriving black market of magic mushrooms in Canada, Optimi Health is at the mercy of the regulatory environment and right now, the regulations are tough.
“As far as regulated access, there is still a ton of red tape,” said Stevens. However, 2023 is a “big year on the clinical trial front,” which could mean that progress is on the horizon.
In the meantime, Optimi will continue to focus its efforts on supplying the best quality product for its medical and pharmaceutical functions, and wait for the day that Canada comes around to legalizing psychedelics.
“What I love about the world today is no matter what position people are in in life, they are beautifully curious about making themselves better,” said Wilson.
“This product and the evolution of psychedelics is a part of that journey.”
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