CALGARY, Jan. 5, 2021 – ATMA Journey Centers Inc. (“ATMA”), an Alberta-based company focused on delivering innovative psychedelic-assisted therapies internationally, is pleased to confirm that it has successfully conducted Canada’s first legally exempted psychedelic-assisted therapy program by a private company.
ATMA was selected to provide the therapeutic services by Alberta’s first palliative patient to receive a Section 56 exemption from Health Canada, Mr. Anthony (Tony) White. The Section 56 exemption granted White to undergo therapy that includes the use of psilocybin, an active hallucinogenic found in “magic mushrooms”.
The initial psychedelic-assisted treatment was conducted on Friday, Jan 1st, 2021 and preliminary outcomes have been extremely positive.
According to White, “I would say that 50% of the extreme anxiety and depression I have been feeling just disappeared immediately. I suddenly feel at peace within, and for the first time in years, I feel physically and mentally relaxed.”
He added, “I had high hopes that this therapy would make a difference, because it was my last hope to see some kind of improvement in my quality of life. I couldn’t have imagined how profound it would actually be. This has been an amazing gift to me and my family, and I hope that others in my situation are soon given the chance to experience it for themselves.”
After watching him suffer through the terminal diagnosis and the mental and physical toll that punishing cancer treatments have taken over almost 3 years, White’s family has indicated extraordinary initial outcomes arising from the psychedelic medicine treatment.
His partner Rebecca Crewe has been astonished at the transformation. “It’s as if something has completely flipped a switch,” she said. “We are absolutely gobsmacked at the impact that a single therapeutic psilocybin journey has had thus far.”
She explained that his speech has improved drastically with very little slurring occurring, which had been a significant side effect of chemotherapy. His physical mobility has increased substantially, his quality of life has been greatly augmented, and she has noticed a new motivation and enthusiasm that has been missing for some time.
Tony is able to be more present than he has been in almost three years, telling me he loves me and being loving with our dogs. He is suddenly smiling, happy and carefree. I feel like I have my partner back”.
According to David Harder, Co-CEO of ATMA and Executive Director of SYNTAC Institute, “This first successful treatment has been years in the making. The expansion of ATMA Journey Centers will create the ability for psychedelic-assisted therapy to be made accessible to thousands of Canadians as the government continues to acknowledge and support the evidence-based science and real-life outcomes that are arising from this approach.”
In February, ATMA is opening the first psychedelic-assisted palliative care clinic in Canada is also expanding across the country and abroad. Harder added, “I am full of gratitude that this medicine work can finally be brought into the mainstream. What ATMA can accomplish in being able to bring healing to the burgeoning numbers of people struggling with mental health has been at the heart of my work since the first day I discovered the healing power of psychedelic therapy.”
In recent years, the amount of scientific research and attention on psychedelic substances and how they may play a role in reducing mental and emotional health issues has skyrocketed. Growing evidence suggests psychedelic-assisted therapeutic approaches to mental and emotional health conditions demonstrate remarkable efficacy and outcomes for a variety of conditions including end-of-life distress, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety.
Greg Habstritt, President of ATMA, acknowledged the commitment and vision that has brought about this new option in mental health treatment. “David Harder has been instrumental in building not only the Alberta psychedelic community for years, but his tireless work with SYNTAC Institute has laid the foundation for many more extraordinary outcomes ahead.”
Habstritt predicts 2021 will be an inflection point of interest and demand for psychedelic-assisted therapies and believes the current pandemic will accelerate sweeping changes in public attitudes and government legislation. According to Habstritt, “Canada is emerging as a global leader in responding to the tsunami of mental and emotional health issues individuals are facing. This is an imminent crisis that faces not just our country but the global population, and we’re optimistic that Health Canada will continue to lead the way with legislative and regulatory changes that bring comfort and relief to many more Canadians.”