Psychedelic substances have been used for thousands of years for religious, spiritual, and medicinal purposes by various cultures around the world. The ancient Greeks used ergot, a fungus that contains LSD-like compounds, in their religious rituals. Native American tribes used peyote, which contains mescaline, for spiritual ceremonies. And in the Amazon, ayahuasca, a brew made from plants containing the psychedelic compound DMT, has been used for centuries in shamanic healing practices.
In the mid-20th century, the use of psychedelics gained popularity in the Western world, particularly with the discovery of LSD by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in 1943. In the 1950s and 1960s, psychedelics were researched as potential treatments for various psychiatric conditions, including depression and alcoholism. Some promising results were reported, and many psychiatrists believed that these substances could be valuable tools for understanding the nature of the mind and treating mental illness.
However, as the cultural and political climate of the 1960s changed, so did the perception of psychedelics. They became associated with countercultural movements, rebellion, and youth culture, and were seen as a threat to social order. In 1966, LSD was made illegal in the United States, and research into psychedelics was largely halted. The negative reputation of these substances persisted for decades, and their therapeutic potential was largely forgotten.
In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. Clinical trials have shown that substances like LSD, psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms), and MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) can be effective in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. These trials have provided evidence that these substances can produce long-lasting improvements in mood, cognition, and quality of life.
The resurgence of research into psychedelics has also led to a reevaluation of their cultural and spiritual significance. Many people now view these substances as tools for personal growth and spiritual exploration, and there is a growing movement of people who use psychedelics in intentional, ritualistic contexts. The history of psychedelics is a complex and multifaceted one, but as our understanding of these substances continues to evolve, it is clear that they have the potential to play a valuable role in healing, personal development, and spiritual transformation.
Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, psychologist, neurologist and so many more have been researching, training and changing the conversation around psychedelic, and more particularly psychedelic assisted therapy. Many of these medicines are being decriminalized, as it's recognized they should never have been illegal to begin with, as it's unconstitutional. Psychedelic medicines are still considered illegal in Canada, and the government is being lobbied to decimalize its use.
B.C.-based company Optimi Health has harvested its first cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms at its Health Canada-licensed facilities in Princeton, B.C., exploring the medicinal benefits of natural products
The City of Toronto as asked federal government to exempt people within Toronto's geographical boundaries from criminal charges for possessing small amounts of drugs for personal use. The believe it's a matter of health and a matter of human rights. This intention is to also destigmatize drugs for people living with Opiod addiction.
Adults in B.C. are not subject to criminal charges for the personal possession of small amounts of certain illegal drugs. Health Canada granted an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to the Province of B.C. from January 31, 2023 until January 31, 2026