Psilocybin (magic mushrooms) is a psychoactive substance and is illegal in Canada mushroom under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Like many other hallucinogens, it produces hallucinations and altered states of consciousness. It can also cause anxiety, fear, nausea and muscle twitching in some people.
Mushrooms grow widely in pastures and ditches on Vancouver Island and the mainland coast of British Columbia, particularly the Queen Charlotte Islands. They are picked by locals, tourists and itinerant pickers from eastern Canada and the U.S. The mushrooms, which are often found on private property, contain varying amounts of the drug psilocybin. Several types of hallucinogenic mushroom are poisonous and can cause overdose or death. De Weerdt said his office regularly gets calls from hospitals with mushroom-related poisoning cases.
Exploring the Psychedelic Frontier: Canadashroom and Its Offerings
Some first nations communities, such as the Haida on Haida Gwaii, claim that psilocybin-containing mushrooms were used for spiritual or medicinal purposes. But ethnological research has found no proof of that. The use of magic mushrooms in Haida Gwaii is now a contentious issue, with some locals saying they have been hurt by the mushroom pickers.
In 2023, Canada decriminalized the possession of small amounts of specific controlled substances, including heroin, fentanyl/morphine, crack & powder cocaine, methamphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy). But despite that, mushrooms remain illegal in Canada, except for under special exemption from Health Canada. That could change in the future, if a Toronto lawyer’s lawsuit succeeds. Bruce Tobin, who runs the Zoomers Dispensary in downtown Vancouver, argues that it should be legal to sell psilocybin-containing fungi for recreational or microdosing purposes. Tobin is asking a federal court to grant him a judicial review and, if he loses that appeal, he plans to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.