North America's second psychedelic-focused research chair comes to Calgary, Canada.
The University of Calgary is creating Canada’s first university-based research chair to lead studies into how psychedelic medicine, such as psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and ketamine, can be used to treat mental health conditions. The only other program of its kind in North America is at Johns Hopkins University.
The new position was created thanks to a $3 million gift from British Columbia resident Jim Parker. Parker learned about the possibilities psychedelic medicine hold from his adult niece, Courtney.
Courtney, who did not want to give her last name, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. She tried everything to get relief from the terrible flashbacks and anxiety, including antidepressants and therapy. “She was stuck for a number of years,” Parker told CBC news.
And then she went to a ketamine clinic in Los Angeles.
“They took me into a room with a chair and sleeping mask and headphones with spa music,” she told the Calgary Herald. “The ketamine took me out of body—you’re able to see your trauma from a third-party perspective, which was really helpful.”
“The results were incredible,” Parker agreed. “After years of struggling, it was like she just snapped back and was the Courtney we had known several years prior.”
The search for the new position will be overseen by Dr. Valerie Taylor, a psychiatrist and clinician-researcher at the University of Calgary. She says she anticipates the university will expand on current research.
“We’re hoping to take [psychedelic research] to the next level and really see if we can work with scientists across the globe and regulatory bodies to help push this field in this direction,” she told CBC news.