Numinus Wellness Inc., which merged with Nanaimo-based Salvation Botanicals last year, has received Health Canada approval for research intended to standardize extraction of psilocybin, from magic mushrooms. (Submitted photo)

Magic mushrooms to treat mental illness? Nanaimo lab studying the possibilities

Numinus Wellness gets federal approval for psychedelic drug research into mental health treatment

The company that owns a Nanaimo lab that conducts analytical testing for cannabis companies has its sights set on studying effects of magic mushrooms on mental illness.

Vancouver-based Numinus Wellness Inc., which merged with Nanaimo-based subsidiary Salvation Botanicals last year, announced in June that Health Canada has given approval for its researchers to manage research intended to standardize extraction of a psychedelic compound, psilocybin, from magic mushrooms. According to a press release, the company has the go-ahead to “proceed with the production of naturally sourced, sustainable psilocybin for research purposes that will support the … field of psychedelic-assisted therapy and research.”

It would allow Numinus to develop and license its own exclusive intellectual property for further product development in conjunction with research organizations, the press release said, and would make it the first publicly traded company in Canada to receive licence to take part in such research.

Payton Nyquvest, Numinus CEO, said the company hasn’t launched any research programs as of yet. He is proud that Numinus will be at the forefront of a new therapeutic category.

“You’ve seen a huge growing body of research in the psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy space, including psilocybin recently getting breakthrough therapy status by the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] for mood disorder, so if we can be of assistance and help try and continue to help broaden that body of research, and hopefully present strong enough of a case to turn research into practice, that’s what we’re trying to support,” Nyquvest told the News Bulletin. “Obviously, you don’t have to look too far to see all of the different issues that society currently has around mental health and if we can help, be of service in trying to address that, that’s really our goal.”

RELATED: Nanaimo company gets licence to test psychedelic drugs

Numinus’ CEO said the company believes there is a big shift happening in how people look at mental health treatment and there is recognition of the fact that current treatment “just really isn’t working.”

“Whether it’s addiction rates, suicide, depression, anxiety, these are all numbers that keep going up and I think we need to be looking at new ways of offering treatment for people so that they can try and get the help that they need,” said Nyquvest. “That’s for us, where we’re really, really excited about the psychedelic category, is the potential that we’re seeing from a lot of the research that’s been published to date, whether it’s [Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Substances] recently getting breakthrough medical status [with] MDMA or John Hopkins getting breakthrough therapy status with psilocybin.”

Nyquvest said there are plans to expand Nanaimo operations and pursue good manufacturing practices quality-assurance standards by the end of 2020.

“That’s one of our goals … is to be able to do that, which would just broaden out our capacity for research and product development,” he said.


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