Essence Wellness operating magic mushroom shop in downtown Kelowna

Magic mushrooms for sale

Buying magic mushrooms in Kelowna is now as easy as purchasing a pack of smokes.

Much like the unlicensed cannabis shops that popped up before legalization, there's a new store in Kelowna —the first of its kind in the city — selling psilocybin mushrooms.

Workers of the new store talk highly about the benefits of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound found in mushrooms that are illegal but are being studied in Canada medically for therapeutic use.

Located at 1B-246 Lawrence Avenue, Essence Wellness Kelowna is an over-the-counter shop that believes in the potential of magic mushrooms to nurture and heal the mind and body.

"Mental health is an issue of paramount importance, especially in today's fast-paced and often stressful world. Depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges affect countless individuals, and many are seeking alternative therapies that can offer real relief," said Essence Wellness in a statement to Castanet.

Filling out a medical form will allow customers access to everything the shop has to offer, including raw mushrooms, capsules, gummies, chocolates and tea, both in sub-hallucinogenic micro-doses and larger macro-doses.

Larger cities like Vancouver have had psilocybin shops operating openly, ignored by police who remain focused on harder street drugs and organized crime — no different than unlicensed cannabis dispensaries before legalization.

Essence Wellness in Kelowna is following in the steps of those stores.

"We believe that through education, responsible use, and thoughtful integration, psilocybin mushrooms can be a source of profound personal transformation and mental health improvement," said the company in a statement.

Psilocybin is banned in Canada by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), but at the same time, the federal government is spending millions to fund research on the potential benefits of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.

“We are beginning to see a resurgence of research on psychedelics as a potential therapeutic aid for a range of mental health and substance use conditions. Despite this, there are still many unknowns as to the safety and efficacy of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy," said Dr. Samuel Weiss, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, in a news release announcing three clinical trials in June.

The federally funded trials will examine psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as a potential treatment option for alcohol use disorder, treatment-resistant depression and end-of-life psychological distress in advanced-stage cancer patients.

"These three newly funded clinical trials represent the careful research that is urgently needed to build upon preliminary findings, and guide clinical practice in Canada," said Dr. Weiss.

Last year a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine showed substantial antidepressant effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy that could last for up to a year.

A magic mushroom research and development facility is now operating in Princeton, B.C.

Essence Wellness, meanwhile, is aiming to serve that growing interest in psilocybin.

"Our goal is to help individuals find their path to mental wellness and self-discovery," said the business.

Essence Wellness is a 19+ location open five days a week Tuesday through Saturday, with hours of operation varying depending on the day.

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