For the last several months, CityNews has been investigating the so-called psychedelic revolution: a powerful push to move psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms from underground to mainstream.
The push comes on the heels of research studies which have shown they could be breakthrough treatments for things like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction.
One B.C. man is going public for the very first time, sharing his story with CityNews about how magic mushrooms saved his life.
“Freedom. This represents freedom,” said Steve Mather while in a Richmond, B.C. garage as he looks over a table of magic mushrooms. “It represents freedom from being stuck in a dark place in your head. I just hope that we can help a lot of people find freedom.”
Mather started using magic mushrooms 10 months ago to treat his PTSD.
“Several months of doing this, I am so far ahead and so much of that brain chatter gone that I have no problem being here to show other people that there’s a chance you can heal”
“I’ve done them for a while now and I’m able to look back and watch, what changed in my head. And one is the amount of brain chatter. It’s been reduced immensely.”
Mather says his PTSD was triggered by a horrible dog attack which almost took his daughter’s life. “Now, there’s no PTSD happening. I know that I’m okay. I know that these have helped.”
Mather doesn’t take high doses of magic mushrooms. He, along with thousands of others around the world, take small amounts of psilocybin which is the naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by magic mushrooms. It’s a process known as microdosing.
“A microdose is a dose that doesn’t typically result in psychoactive effects,” said Dr. Roger Mcintyre, a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Toronto. “In other words, not having any kind of out-of-body experiences or derealization experiences and so on.”
While you may not feel high, Mather and other users say microdosing changes the voices in your head and has helped him heal.
“Microdosing is the next the next big thing,” said B.C. Ethnopharmacologist Dennis McKenna.
On Reddit boards, YouTube and Facebook posts, many users claim microdosing has helped them treat depression, anxiety, PTSD and drug addictions.
There are still two problems associated with microdosing. First, psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms are still illegal in Canada and secondly, more studies are needed to prove microdosing is safe and effective.
“Although there’s a lot of good clinical studies on full on therapeutic use of psychedelics, there’s no really good study on the effectiveness of microdosing yet. It hasn’t been done. Hasn’t been demonstrated,” said McKenna.
As CityNews has been reporting this week, larger doses of psilocybin, which create powerful psychedelic mind trips, are showing promise in clinical trials right now to treat mental health but Mather says sometimes less is more.
“Several months of doing this, I am so far ahead and there’s so many loops and so much of that brain chatter gone that I have no problem being here to show other people that there’s a chance you can heal,” said Mather.
That’s exactly what Mather and his friend are doing. Both of them take us inside their underground mushroom lab where they make capsules so others can microdose — all of it technically illegal.
In a new documentary, “VeraCity, The Psychedelic Frontier, on CityTV, we’ll show you how their lab works and who they sell their products to.
“I’ll show other people how I did it. It may not work for everybody, but it’ll work for a few. And if I can get them out of that horrifying place. I’m kind of obliged to do that,” said Mather.
VeraCity: The Psychedelic Frontier airs Monday, Jan. 25 10 p.m., only on Citytv.