A Canadian startup called Anahit Therapeutics is nearly done constructing a large psilocybin cultivation farm in Jamaica, where it hopes to grow psychedelic mushrooms to use in new pharmaceuticals.
The plan is to build modular cultivation facilities that not only grow the psychedelic mushrooms but extract their active ingredient, psilocybin. Doctors have investigated psilocybin’s ability to treat myriad conditions ranging from depression to eating disorders, and this new facility is a major bid to bring those treatments to reality.
A press release describes high-tech shroom-growing facilities with tightly controlled environments that start by implanting spores onto a sterile substrate and yields harvestable mushrooms within four to nine weeks.
Each facility can generate just over 34 pounds of psilocybin per year — Anahit plans to build five more facilities once this first one is done, bringing that total yield to about 172 pounds.
Anahit still faces an uphill legal battle: while some U.S. states have decriminalized psilocybin, the drug is still illegal in the U.S. and Canada. Brazil, Samoa, the British Virgin Islands, The Netherlands, and Jamaica are the only countries where it’s legal. Still, the company hopes to get ahead of the curve of legalization.
“Anahit is in the final stages of setting up our psilocybin cultivation facility,” Clayton Fisher, Interim CEO of New Wave Holdings Corp, the investment firm that owns Anahit, said in the release. “By making this strategic investment in these two facilities, we are positioning the company to be a true, fully-integrated leader and innovator in the cultivation, processing, and formulation of psilocybin and functional mushroom products.”
Editor’s Note 5/22/2020: This post was updated to clarify the relationship between New Wave Holdings and Anahit
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