Loyalist becomes first college in Canada to receive licence for psilocybin research

Click to play video: 'Loyalist College officially licensed to study psilocybin mushrooms'
Loyalist College officially licensed to study psilocybin mushrooms
Loyalist College has officially gotten the green light from Health Canada to conduct applied research on the qualities of psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as "magic mushrooms" – Oct 27, 2023

Psilocybin mushrooms, more commonly known as magic mushrooms, are still a long way away from being legalized in Canada, much like marijuana was in 2018.

However, the development clinical applications for psilocybin to help people suffering with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are picking up speed. And Belleville’s Loyalist College has jumped into the research, becoming the first college in Canada to receive a licence from Health Canada to work with psilocybin.

“This was a natural extension of our cannabis license and it gave us the opportunity to make an impact in the research community in psychedelics,” said Carly Kelly, senior manager of applied research and innovation at the college.

But what does applied research at the college level look like for students?

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They’ll get to take part in and get credit for supporting real-world research to help companies who are developing products.

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Loyalist College’s labs will focus on two key pillars.

“Safety and consistency. There is a very large gap in research that needs to be addressed, and we hope to play a part in that,” Kelly said.

Safety and consistency are especially important with psilocybin, according to Kelly, because the psychoactive chemicals are quite unstable, which makes it difficult to nail down dosages for clinical use.

College president Mark Kirkpatrick lauded the work they college has done to get the natural products applied research program to where it is.

“I think being the only college in Canada now to have the license to work with psilocybin is tremendous and again just demonstrates the leadership that our applied research group has,” he said.

As with any controlled substance, there is a laundry list of rules and regulations that must be followed in order to obtain the license and to keep the materials they’re working with safe.

“We like to think of it that we have obviously met all the regulations and requirements within Health Canada. But being an academic institution, we go beyond that, so we’re very secure in our position within safety (and) within the controlled drugs and substances license,” Kelly said.

Now that the licensing is official, Loyalist researchers will begin working with companies to see what they can discover as they help open minds to what this drug can do.


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