VANCOUVER -- The pandemic has seen a huge increase in the number of people suffering from a variety of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are four times as many people suffering now compared to pre-pandemics levels. A Vancouver company is hoping to help change that.

Vancouver Delic Corp. and Delic Labs are currently conducting research into psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, which has shown promise as an alternative therapy for various mental health issues.

Those include “PTSD, depression, treatment-resistant depression, OCD, anxiety,” said Matt Stang, Delic CEO. “Right now Canada has the only licensure that allows for psilocybin research.” 

Delic is also in the final stages of acquiring three ketamine infusions centres in the U.S., two in Phoenix and one in Bakersfield California.

Emily Curtis, who suffers from depression, sought out psychedelic therapy after suffering a severe depressive event in 2017.

“I’ve kind of had problems with clinical depression, on and off, since I was in college,” Curtis explained.

“Nothing was really working.”

Until she started going to a ketamine infusion centre.

“I know a lot of people when I talk about using ketamine infusions they’re like, ‘Oh special K, the party drug?’”

While they may illegal party drugs for some, Ketamine and psilocybin are coming out of the shadows.

“These novel molecules are perhaps the most beneficial way to help people with mental health disorders,” said Stang. “Right now Canada has the only licensure that allows for psilocybin research.”

There are several studies showing promise for psychedelic therapies as well. Although Health Canada has no approved psilocybin products, it told CTV News it has granted 36 exemptions for psilocybin treatments for terminally ill patients suffering psychological distress.

However, there is still a long way to go before and more research to be done before these kind of therapies to be fully approved.

“I don’t want to be the person who comes on and says here’s these magic beans, it’s going to fix everything and the world’s going to be better,” said Stang.

However, he is hopeful, and so is Curtis, who says ketamine has made a huge difference for her.

“You just don’t know who’s suffering,” she said. “I’ve been able to kind of figure out a new career. I have been able to be a present parent. It’s really been a game changer for me.”