Poor mental health among Canadians is still rampant across the country. The traditional means to treat the various issues many suffer from have only offered ways to manage and mitigate symptoms with long-term dosing. Now in the beginning months of 2021, with a large majority of society isolating in their homes both with and without family members around them, mental health across the board continues to be a growing issue.
To offer some pretext into the world of science-driven research on psychedelics, one can argue that the first legal study of assisted psychedelic therapy conducted at John Hopkins University back in 2000, lead by head researcher Roland Griffiths was the first credible research in thirty years. It investigated the benefits of using psilocybin, an active hallucinogenic found in ‘magic mushrooms’, in assisted therapeutic sessions. The results of this study were published in July of 2006, referred to as a landmark study that alone opened the door to similar studies to capture legal status with confidence in this treatment method.
As mentioned by clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson whilst speaking about this study passing regulatory and ethics committees, stated “I think its a testament to Griffiths stature as a researcher that it was allowable ”. In regards to public opinion about this study, the message that may prove to be a priority in the near future is that these studies are based on open science, with participants, staff and community observers reviewing the post-therapy session results and each study bears witness to a rigorous review process by health professionals.
There have been multiple legal studies granted throughout the US and Europe over the last decade. Other non-profits in Canada have assisted in exemption applications for the use of psychedelics, such as the first four palliative patients in Canada to be approved to use psilocybin in British Columbia, the ongoing study of MDMA assisted therapy in Vancouver to treat PTSD and the continued research of ketamine for therapeutic uses in Montreal, to name a few. The University of Toronto was the first Canadian educational institution to be granted legal permission in collaboration with Toronto Centre for Psychedelic Science (TCPS), and Cybin Corp to study these chemicals further for various treatment methods.
And here we are, with an important distinction for Albertans.
Released through Newswire on December 30th, the ATMA Journeys Centre, in collaboration with the SYNTAC Institute was the first private company in Alberta to be granted legal permission under a recent ‘Health Canada Section 56 Exemption’ to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy treatment to one candidate. Noted by 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.”
The results from the first treatment are referred to as blowing past expectations for this one candidate. For the unaware, psychedelics have been proven in multiple studies to have substantial benefits for individuals who require palliative care, suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. However, more substantiated data has been with individuals who have been given a life-threatening diagnosis. Where psychedelics cannot cure disease, it can offer these individuals a way to manage their thoughts and emotions during the most difficult time for any individual.
The results from the first-ever Canadian candidate who was given a terminal cancer diagnosis experienced a transformed outlook on his situation. The initial psychedelic-assisted treatment was conducted on Friday, Jan 1st, 2021 and preliminary outcomes have been noted as ‘extremely positive’.
According to Mr. White, the first candidate accepted in the study had endured 3 years of cancer treatments. After his initial psychedelic experience, he mentions,
“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.”
The press release included some remarks from Mr. White’s family and partner, who themselves saw a transformation in his mind towards his current situation. His partner Rebecca states,
“It’s as if something has completely flipped a switch,” she mentions, “We are absolutely gobsmacked at the impact that a single therapeutic psilocybin journey has had thus far.”
She continues, “[Mr. White] 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”.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work from both teams at ATMA Journeys Centre and the SYNTAC Institute. Greg Habstritt, the president of ATMA and communications director for the SYNTAC Insitute, speaks upon the work of his colleagues, Health Canada, and what this could mean for countless Canadians.
“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.”
We are still in the early stages of understanding psychedelics. It is challenging to condense all of the research studies conducted over the past 20 years. For decades, psychedelics have held a societal perception that has been perceived to be subhuman, a detriment to human health and as addictive as other class A street drugs, such as cocaine.
According to a number of respected scientists and New York Times best selling author, ‘psychonaut’ Michael Pollan, this is inherently false. We as humans fear what we do not understand, and we can now move into a broader understanding of the seeming ‘magical’ benefits of psychedelics to mental health, managing life-threatening diagnoses and expanding our understanding of consciousness.
About the ATMA Journeys Centers Inc.
ATMA is a Canadian company focused on delivering effective and innovative healing and transformative experiences that leverage the potential of psychedelic medicine to awaken the inner healer and allow a deeper connection with self, with others and with the beauty of our world. For more information, visit www.atmajourney.com.
About the Syntac Insititute
SYNTAC Institute is a non-profit organization located in Calgary, Alberta with a mission to bring the healing and transformative power of psychedelic medicine and psychedelic-assisted therapy to Canadians. SYNTAC has been a leader in building the psychedelic community in Canada, including ongoing monthly discussions and the Catalyst Psychedelic Conference. For more information, visit www.syntacinstitute.com.
[Quotes are cited from two releases published on December 30th and January 1st through Newswire.]
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary
Enbridge to purchase three U.S. utilities for $14 billion in cash and debt
The Enbridge logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 9, 2018. Enbridge Inc. says it has signed a US$14 billion cash-and-debt deal to purchase three U.S.-based utility companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Enbridge Inc. says it has signed a US$14 billion cash-and-debt deal to purchase three U.S.-based utility companies.
The Calgary-based energy infrastructure giant says the three utilities, owned by Dominion Energy, Inc., are The East Ohio Gas Company, Questar Gas Company and its related Wexpro companies, and the Public Service Company of North Carolina.
Enbridge says it will finance the deal through a combination of $US9.4 billion of cash consideration and US$4.6 billion of assumed debt.
The Canadian company says the deal will double the scale of its gas utility business and will serve to balance its asset mix evenly between natural gas and renewables, and liquids.
Enbridge says following the transaction, its gas utility business will be the largest by volume in North America with a combined rate base of over C$27 billion and about 7,000 employees delivering over nine billion cubic feet per day of gas to approximately seven million customers.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval and expected to close in 2024.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 5, 2023.
Police seize 35 computers, nearly one million photos and videos, arrest 8 suspects for child sexual exploitation
News release from ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team) Internet Child Exploitation team
Operation ICE Storm 5
Operation ICE Storm 5 has led to the arrest of eight child sexual exploitation suspects. ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation team made the arrests over the past three months in Calgary and Coalhurst, Alta.
Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) team launched Operation ICE Storm 5 in April 2023 and focused on high-level targets that were sharing and distributing vast collections of child sexual exploitation materials via peer-to-peer file sharing networks.
Operation ICE Storm 5 prioritized suspects with the largest collections and some of the most graphic content. To date, nearly one million child sexual exploitation photos and videos have been identified. More than 35 computers and electronic devices were seized resulting in terabytes of data for forensics technicians to analyze.
At this point of the investigation, ICE investigators do not believe any of the victims are from Alberta, or that any hands-on offences had taken place.
Anyone with information about this investigation, or any child exploitation offence is encouraged to contact police or cybertip.ca.
A total of eight suspects were arrested and each face charges of possession of child pornography, access child pornography, and make available child pornography:
- Claudio Foglia, 60, of Calgary;
- Warren Flemming, 40, of Calgary;
- Craig Drumgold, 49, of Calgary;
- Tyler Sartison, 54, of Calgary;
- Derek Eichele, 59, of Calgary;
- Chris Jenkins, 31 of Coalhurst, Alta.;
- Thomas Weatherhead, 51, of Calgary;
- Jesse Carlson-Lepage, 35, of Calgary;
Operation ICE Storm 5 relied on the assistance of a number of police agencies, including: Calgary Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, Canmore RCMP, and Coalhurst RCMP.
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.
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