This is where his medical journey began, punctuated by lows and very lows. First stop: Citalopram. “It just really made me gray. I was no longer in a big daily torment, but I was never happy. On top of that, my sexuality was zero.” After a few months, he returned, empty-handed, to visit his doctor. This was intended to be encouraging, convinced him that he and she would eventually find the right medicine. Second stop: Bupropion. As you can see, it didn’t work at all for Sam, when his dark thoughts were only getting worse and he was even showing aggression, he who had always been of a gentle nature.
The finish line seemed a long way off to him, but there was no giving up, it seemed. The third stop turned out to be a return to square one — another corpse-flavored walk under the theme of Venlafaxine. It was then that Sam’s family doctor suggested that he file an exemption request for a promising antidepressant, but not covered by the public plan, I was so disappointed with the system. I said to myself: I’m really trying to take charge of myself, I think I can contribute to society, and then it doesn’t work. In the end, so much the better!” Good for him, yes. It was then that the 20-year-old made it his mission to find a solution outside the system.
Depression, exploration, mushrooms
Over the past five years, the literature on the use of magic mushrooms in mental health has abounded. We are talking about a real revolution in the treatment of depression and other ailments such as post-traumatic shock, anorexia and alcoholism. Ranging from a simple boost of creativity to the cure of a serious anxiety disorder, the precious plant would offer 1,001 benefits. The only catch: it is illegal to possess and consume it in Canada.
It is from psilocybin, its hallucinogenic component, that this mushroom derives its properties. Despite the panoply of articles on the subject in the media, very little scientific research looks at it seriously. Well known as a recreational substance, mush nevertheless appeals to thousands of consumers who, like Sam, use it in the hope of curing their invisible demons.
Two major currents unfold in parallel when it comes time to consume mush for health reasons: microdosing and psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.
explains researcher Rotem Petranker. The latter co-founded the Psychedelic Studies Research Program at the University of Toronto, as well as the Canadian Center for Psychedelic Science with the very specific purpose of participating in the creation of knowledge on the subject. “Psychedelics are cool and promising, but we need research done right.”
Substantial advantages, in comparison with the disadvantages. “The biggest negative aspect reported is illegality. Otherwise, we are talking about occasional side effects such as chills, difficulty sleeping.
A year later, the researcher and his team repeated the experiment, but on a larger scale. In partnership with the independent organization Global Drug Survey, they collected the responses of some 8,000 people scattered around the world, with the same conclusions.
If Sam had participated in the study, his answers would have matched theirs exactly. I was particularly concentrated, ”says the young man, who was then completing an MBA. “At the time, I had no revelation, just kind of little chills, a certain awakening.” He then took a few doses, several days apart and in a controlled context at home. He found himself wanting to see his friends, to connect. He surprised himself to feel good. A flood of emotions that hadn’t made its way into his brain for over two years.
This kind of momentum has been reported by a large number of participants in Rotem Petranker’s studies. The next step for the team: a clinical trial on microdosing, approved by Health Canada.
“ Every week, we have two new scientific articles with a title like: “Should we include psychedelics in mental health treatments?” We don’t need this kind of text which only recounts old information. We need to consolidate our knowledge and increase the weight of our results. »
Indeed, in-depth studies on the subject are still lacking for the Canadian government to endorse the decriminalization, or even the sale of psilocybin. On the side of Health Canada, the internet page cites a list of various negative side effects to the consumption of the substance: anxiety, paranoia, or even an increase in heart rate.