Psilocybin for Sale in Canada – Dana Larsen of the Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary

A recent article in Yahoo Finance reported that Dana Larsen of the Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary is selling psilocybin containing products. As discussed below, it is unclear whether these are mushrooms or some other form of psilocybin product.

Despite the current legal status of psilocybin (and magic mushrooms) Dana Larsen is selling psilocybin containing products online. He explains that his actives are limited to providing subthreshold doses to people with a medical need: “I’m only selling microdoses to people with a confirmed medical need.”

Is Dana Larsen Selling Magic Mushrooms or Psilocybin?

In the article, Elianna Lev of Yahoo Canada News uses the terms “psilocybin” and “magic mushrooms” interchangeably, which makes it unclear whether Dana Larsen is selling psilocybin (the single active molecule) or magic mushrooms (comprising psilocybin along with multiple other active ingredients). See Taking Pure Psilocybin is Different from Eating Magic Mushrooms.

At some points in the article, Ms. Lev appears to clearly distinguish magic mushrooms from psilocybin:

  • “Dana Larsen is behind the Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary, an online shop that sells microdoses of psilocybin, the psychoactive component in magic mushrooms.” 
  • “While magic mushrooms are illegal in Canada, psilocybin is being studied for its potential to treat mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, amongst others.”
  • These quotes suggest that Mr. Larsen is selling psilocybin (the chemical) not mushroom material containing it.
  • In the U.S., Denver and Oakland have decriminalized magic mushrooms. In Canada, there’s currently no therapeutic products containing psilocybin that have been approved.
  • “Larsen says some activists will be in court later this year to challenge psilocybin prohibition under Section 56 of the controlled drug act,”

However other parts of the article suggest exactly the opposite, that Mr. Larsen is selling small doses of magic mushroom material:

  • “Now that Canadians have access to legalized cannabis, a Vancouver-based activist is focused on administering another substance that’s said to have both medicinal and recreational benefits: magic mushrooms.”
  • While magic mushrooms are illegal in Canada, psilocybin is being studied for its potential to treat mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, amongst others.”
  • Notably, Mr. Larsen’s shop is called the “Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary.”
  • The article includes a section about “The future of psilocybin in Canada,” in which Jordan Donich, a Toronto-based criminal lawyer discusses the future for legalizing magic mushrooms.

The article’s discussion of the product dosing is also confusing.  According to the Yahoo article, “Larsen explains that the shop sells 25 ml, 50 ml and 100 ml doses – about five to 10 per cent of what you’d take if you wanted to experience hallucinations.”  These milliliter quantities make sense for neither psilocybin (the chemical) nor any mushroom material containing it. Milliliters describe units of volume whereas psilocybin and mushrooms are both solid materials, which would be measured in grams (or milligrams).

See also Three Key Points of Journalists Reporting on Magic Mushrooms or Psilocybin.

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