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Recently you may have been hearing a lot about psilocybin, the hot new psychedelic taking the world by storm, but it’s actually not new at all. Psilocybin, more commonly known as magic mushrooms, is having a huge cultural moment and it’s easy to see why. Studies are showing that psilocybin is one of the safest drugs you can take and it’s helping people with an array of issues including depression and anxiety. We sat down with psilocybin expert Irie Selkirk to discuss this promising psychedelic and her Rise Wellness Retreats.

Tell us about yourself and how you got started with psilocybin.

I am a natural medicine educator, entrepreneur, and mother of 3. I believe that thoughtful plant medicine consumption, self-care and mindfulness can improve our lives, inspiring a sense of purpose and wonder into our modern lives by connecting us with ourselves and those around us in a more meaningful way.

I became professionally involved with psilocybin when I co-founded two companies in the psychedelics space, Sansero Life Sciences and Rise Wellness Retreat. Sansero exists to bring our formulas of psilocybin and psilocybin-inspired natural medicines to market and I have opened Rise Wellness Retreat to offer a gentle introduction to psychedelic therapy in a safe, legal and beautiful setting. 

Personally, I took psilocybin with my life-long best friend as a teenager and I look back fondly at an experience that opened my eyes to the power of nature and how we look at ourselves and the world around us. We recently lost my best friend to cancer and I am forever grateful that we shared such profound experiences together. It was all of this that inspired me to seek out the therapeutic benefits of this substance, especially in light of the relief it brings terminal and chronic patients. I know that these medicines work and I am compelled to bring them to the public so that more people can improve their lives with this healing medicine. 

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Many of us have experienced psilocybin recreationally, could you tell us more about using it for spiritual and wellness reasons?

Psilocybin (or magic mushrooms) have been used by humans and animals for millenia for a number of reasons. They have been used in ceremonies and rites of passage, as well as a tool for managing the human condition around the world. 

Currently, we find ourselves increasingly disconnected from one another and in need of social medicines that can inspire us to reconnect. I look at psilocybin as a tool for our overall wellness that we can create personal and lasting skills around, for example, we can work with this tool to enhance neuroplasticity and the potential for neural regeneration by reinforcing positive habits that will help us break cycles that don’t serve us. At this point in my life, I far prefer a social microdose and a cup of tea to a glass of wine and my body and morning headaches thank me for that all the time. At Rise, we have clients who are kick-starting or continuing wellness programs, diets and goals or looking to break a toxic cycle with a relationship, thought pattern, substance, or even digital screens.

Personally, my most rewarding days often include a microdose, plus whatever my activity is, from yoga classes, running errands to journalling and creating art with my children, which all greatly improve my overall wellness. I have more positive energy towards, and patience for the minutiae of life and how it all shakes out. On a spiritual level, delving into my own thoughts around my life’s purpose feels safer and less daunting and it is very clear to me why people have been using these plants as part of life for as long as human life has been recorded. It truly does shift where the light comes in for me, offering a whole perspective on what is already there that leaves me feeling connected and worthy.

What do people get wrong about psilocybin?

People have been told that magic mushrooms are very harmful and will cause terrible damage to our mental health. This is not true. Psilocybin mushrooms are considered to be the least harmful substance in terms of addiction, social harms and criminal activity, as well as, toxicity (they aren’t poisonous, but some mushrooms are, so don’t go looking for these in the wild without an expert). As with all substances, these aren’t for everyone, especially those with a history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and it is all about finding a healthy balance.

What are the differences between natural and synthetic Psychedelics?

Natural psychoactive plants often have complex profiles that make up how it will interact with our bodies, whereas synthetic psychedelics are isolated molecules that have been extracted or similarly recreated. Some natural psychedelics are psilocybin, ibogaine and ayahuasca. Synthetics psychedelics include LSD, MDMA, ketamine, etc… Both synthetic and natural psychedelics have great therapeutic benefits, for example LSD and psilocybin both interact with our serotonin governance system, but in different ways.

What should people know before they take psilocybin?

When considering psilocybin use, it is important to do your research to ensure that you’re sourcing quality substances and to find the best dosage for your purposes. It is important to have an understanding of the importance of your “mindset and setting”. Your “setting”, such as the physical location, after-care plan and the people around you; and “mindset” or your state of mind, including preparation, intention-setting, and integration of the experience greatly contribute to how you interact with psilocybin. Ask yourself if you want to use it in a microdose protocol or as a more intensive therapeutic tool and seek out fact-based education, safe access points (like Rise Wellness Retreat) and expert opinions.

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Why is psilocybin your favourite Psychedelic? 

My favourite psychedelic is psilocybin, it has provided me with relief from cyclical depression and a sense of purpose to my life that I never thought possible. Psilocybin has shone the light on revelations to me during a profound psilocybin macrodose experience which ultimately led me to easily make massive and sustainable changes in my life. I have found that microdosing psilocybin brings me a sense of lightness that I felt I had lost over the years. There’s a lot of understanding and patience in my heart with this earth medicine and I can see how it acts as a “great connector” to and for our natural world. 

Tell us about Rise Wellness Retreat.

At Rise Wellness Retreat, we’ve come together with over thirty combined years of wellness, service, plant medicine, and science experience to help guide and inspire our clients. We offer an all-inclusive experience that includes workshops and classes (including yoga, Tai Chi, breath work, meditation, etc…) held by certified wellness professionals and specially formulated microdoses of psilocybin. Whether you’re curious about trying psilocybin for the first time or want to build on your previous experiences, we personally advise and guide each guest to help provide a solution to those seeking a safe, legal and science-based experience for improving mood, enhancing creativity, reducing stress, and increasing your overall mental and physical wellness. From shiatsu treatments to 5 star accommodations, we’ve created something truly special at Rise Wellness Retreat, and we are honoured to provide access to this very important medicine. 

Do you collaborate with others on your retreats? 

Rise was co-founded by myself and my partner in business and life, PhD biologist, researcher, and renowned scientist, Dr. Darryl Hudson. We have a core team that includes a psychotherapist specializing in existential-integrative therapy, Robin Banister (@theinnerarts) and Licensed Shiatsu Therapist, MovNat Master Trainer and Bujinkan Shidoshi (Internationally trained martial artist) Alex Shenker (@naturalmobility). 

We also work with local and renowned yoga and wellness instructors and academic researchers at the forefront of psychedelic science and application.

Connect with Rise Wellness Retreats online:

Web: risewellnessretreat.com
Instagram: @risewellnessretreat 
Twitter: @risewellness_