Field Trip Ventures Inc., a Toronto-based firm aimed at using psychedelics to treat mental illness, is planning to build the world’s first legal research and cultivation facility for psilocybin-producing mushrooms.
“The mental health options that we have today are broken,” said Mujeeb Jafferi, Field Trip’s president, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg at the company’s downtown Toronto offices. “This is something that provides an alternative to traditional anti-depressants which may not have worked for some people.”
The company, whose founders include several former Aurora Cannabis Inc. senior executives, will begin construction on a 3,000 square-foot research lab this month in the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, where psilocybin-producing mushrooms are legal, said Jafferi.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Jafferi said the university will assist with providing the company research staff and academic advisors.
Field Trip’s work in exploring how psychedelics – which include psilocybin, ketamine, and MDMA – can be used to treat anxiety or depression comes amid growing public sentiment toward the drugs.
In the past year, several U.S. cities such as Oakland and Denver have decriminalized psychedelics, while former Canopy Growth Corp. co-chief executive Bruce Linton announced plans to become a director at Mind Medicine, Inc., another Toronto-based company looking to establish safe psychedelic-assisted treatments for mental illnesses.