Addiction treatment hope in new mushroom product

Entheogen Biotech, a Canadian company with offices in Alberta, Canada, and Westmoreland, is looking to introduce a mushroom product this year that its principals believe can help treat depression and addiction to alcohol and nicotine.

Since August 2018, Anthony Bailey, a Canadian with Jamaican roots, has teamed with Greek doctor Vangelis Mitsis to develop a novel mushroom they hope will be ready for a trial run by Easter.

Those tests will be done in collaboration with Northern Caribbean University in Manchester.

Bailey told the Jamaica Observer that Entheogen Biotech’s mushrooms are grown in bioreactors which ensures an environmentally-hygienic and consistent product.

“What we’ve done is bred a variety of mushrooms, tested and validated them in Greece at the University of Athens, in Paris, and the University of Alberta. We’ve validated them for consistency in production because when you buy one strain from one place and from another place there’s no consistency of the tryptamine content which is the active chemical compound in the mushroom that produces a hallucinogenic effect,” he explained.

Bailey’s father is from Hanover and his mother a native of St Vincent and

the Grenadines. A self-described entrepreneur, Bailey’s speciality is marketing.

Mitsis, a physician from Athens, has done extensive research on cannabis for which he holds five patents.

They met four years ago and found they had similar interest in mushroom exploration. Eventually, they agreed to establish a base in Jamaica where there is open use of the versatile fungi.

Additionally, mushrooms in a tropical climate are far more psychedelic than the European variety which are usually used for culinary purposes.

Bailey, a graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, said he and Mitsis have provided funding for their research to date, which amounts to Euro 230,000. Helping to cure ailments affecting many Jamaicans will be the focus of their product.

“We are still in the process of running tests but we would like to be conducting tests in the treatment of alcohol addiction which is big in Jamaica, and nicotine addiction,” he disclosed.

According to AlliedMarketResearch.com, the global mushroom market will be worth US$53.3 billion by 2027. This includes culinary, health and medicinal products.

Mushrooms have been consumed in diverse forms in Europe and the United States for many years. Hippies in the US counter-culture movement of the 1960s and 1970s used it mainly for hallucinogenic purposes.

Bailey has noticed the mushroom’s popularity in one of Jamaica’s most liberal regions.

“There’s a lot of mushrooms in Negril and the West End. You’ll see people selling mushrooms and mushroom tea, things like that — We’re talking about tourists who come for yoga and treatment,” he said. “We don’t know if it works but they keep coming back, so there must be something in the pudding. We would like to put it on a standardised level, something we can advertise and say clinically, ‘This is proven to work.'”

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