Magic with mushrooms

Stu McNish 2 minute read February 18, 2022

Over the past couple of years, the legal use of psilocybin has been touted as an important and effective agent in the treatment of addiction, save one challenge – the cost is horrendous. It is far out of reach for the average person and the health care system. As a result, the concept,while tantalizing, was impractical.

Now, Order of Canada recipient Robert Hancock, a globally renowned UBC microbiologist and Canada Research Chair in health and genomics, has created a new process that will bring the cost to under $100 a gram by the end of 2022.

“It’s a game changer that will allow rapid, stable and cost-effective psilocybin production to bring the price down and make this remarkable substance available to those in need,” Hancock said.

“The new process his team has developed uses specially constructed, optimized DNA sequences that turn bacteria into biological factories for psilocybin production within a fermentation process. This process allows the substance to be created in a lab under controlled conditions.”

This breakthrough comes in the wake of Health Canada approving the special access program use of psilocybin in psychedelic-assisted therapy for mental illnesses, which afflict one in five people in Canada every year.

Hancock joined a Conversation that Matters about the life-saving benefits of making this treatment accessible to millions of people.

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