Shroom & Magic MushroomPsychedelic Psychiatry and Canada?s Mental Health Pandemic

March 17, 2021by Dr.Jake Donaldson1

Mental Health is talked about now more than ever, which has left clinicians wondering what the most effective way is to provide accessible and efficacious treatments for those who continue to struggle with an altered reality at the hands of the global pandemic.

  • Traditional forms of medicines, such as anti-depressants have been proven to be ineffective for more serious cases of depression, such as treatment resistant depression (TRD) and major depressive disorder (MDD), anxiety disorders and adjustment disorders, which has left many searching for a solution that seemingly does not exist.

However, through diligent efforts and dedication, researchers around the globe have once again begun to explore the unique medical effects of psychedelic compounds to offer a realistic treatment for those patients faced with little hope of stability, as a way of combating the current global mental health pandemic.

  • The demand for psychedelics as adjunct treatment for the alleviation of mental disorder symptomology and personal development has been on the rise, especially given the current mental health pandemic., but because of a shortage of accredited programs to facilitate these practices, meaning that only a limited number of people can receive this form of therapy.

What�s Does the Current Climate Look Like?

As the one-year mark since the declaration of the global coronavirus pandemic arrives, the continuing health crisis is taking a toll on the mental health of individuals around the globe, and although the vaccine provides us with a �glimmer of hope�, people continue to talk about their emotional distress and a growing sense of despair. The mental effects of lockdown have not failed to appear � as people report feeling more agitated, stressed, restless and sleepless.

  • �A small but worrying survey from March 2020 revealed increased alcohol and cannabis use among people in the United States. They likely turned to these substances in an attempt to relieve their pandemic-induced anxiety and depression�.
    • Results from this survey revealed that 138% of individuals reported experiencing fatigue and a lack of energy, 236% reported having difficulty with their sleep (insomnia and hypersomnia) and 335% reported having difficulty relaxing.


  • Scientists are using datasets to track the impact that pandemic control measures have had on people�s mental health, and although the full picture has yet to become clear, we can already see its effects today � and the overall first impression is looking rather grim.
    • We are starting to see a surge in diagnosis pertaining to mood disorders, specific depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders stemming from the pandemic. According to a December 2020 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, 42% of people in the country reported symptoms of anxiety or depression that month. This was a statistically significant increase from the 11% they recorded in 2019.
      • These findings can be attributed to the sentiment of a �deepening sense of isolation that has contributed to feelings of helplessness and anxiety� throughout the population.
    • Additionally, reports have also suggested that remaining �house bound� for a prolonged period of time is a contributing factor in the recent surge of mental health diagnoses.
      • Although working from home has made the lives of millions easier, it has been reported that working from home has actually become more stressful as most people end up working longer hours, and that the work itself has become more stressful and intense, continuously pushing individual to feel �burnt out�.


Where Do Psychedelics Come in?

If you�ve read our previous articles, you�ll know that researchers at Harvard have been conducting research regarding the efficacy of psilocybin as an adjunct treatment for major mental illnesses.

  • �Published in JAMA Psychiatry, the clinical trial revealed that 71% of patients experienced a clinically significant response to psilocybin therapies; 54% of participants met the clinical criteria for remission of depression.�

Western medicine is now taking a look at the potential to use of psilocybin as a form �front-line treatment� for mental disorders, which could be a crucial tool in addressing the current global mental health pandemic.

  • The use of psychedelics in healthcare is not new�historic evidence has demonstrated that many cultures use �magic mushrooms� to achieve a state of enlightenment. To unlock the brain, creativity, and existential thoughts is part of the psychedelic �trip.�



Recent Developments in Canada

Earlier this year, the ATMA Urban Journey Clinic in northwest Calgary became the first location within Canada to offer psychedelic drug therapy for those diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD.

  • The Psychedelic Therapy Training Program will commence in March and will feature a world-class faculty of instructors and practitioners that represent many of the leaders in the global psychedelic medicine community. Confirmed instructors include Dr. Rick Doblin, Founder and Executive Director of MAPS, a U.S. based organization widely considered to be the most influential player in the growing psychedelics renaissance.

Health Canada has been taking steps to increase access to psychedelic medicine through its ongoing approvals of exemptions under �Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), the legislation that governs controlled substances in Canada such as psychedelics�.

  • ATMA was the first private company in Canada to conduct legal psychedelic-assisted therapy using psilocybin on behalf of a palliative client who had been granted a Section 56 exemption.

What�s Next?

  • Additional experimental studies are needed to further examine and establish the long-term effects of psilocybin therapy as an efficacious treatment.
  • Researchers are now looking to determine if psilocybin therapy could be used to treat obesity, and eating disorders.


**Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.





Dr.Jake Donaldson

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