by Howard Campbell
KINGSTON, Jamaica – To the average Jamaican, mushrooms are innocuous fungi that grow wildly around tree stumps. But research has shown, they can be used to treat a number of ailments, such as lowering cholesterol and improving mental capacity.
Entheogen Biotech, a Canadian company based in Alberta and Jamaica, have conducted extensive research into local mushrooms since 2019, led by co-founders Anthony Bailey and Dr. Vangelis Mitsis.
Working out of Westmoreland parish in western Jamaica, they have developed mushrooms they believe can help treat depression and alleviate addictions to alcohol and nicotine.
According to Bailey, Entheogen Biotech’s mushrooms are grown in bioreactors to ensure an environmentally-hygenic and consistent product.
“What we’ve done is bred a variety of mushrooms, tested and validated them in Greece at the University of Athens, in Paris and the University of Alberta. We’ve validated them for consistence in production because when you buy one strain from one place and from another place, there’s no consistence of the Tryptamine content which is the active chemical compound in the mushroom that produces hallucigenic effect,” he explained.
A graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, Bailey is Canadian-Jamaican and a marketing specialist. Mitsis, a physician from Greece, has done extensive research on cannabis.
They met four years ago and after finding they shared similar ideas in terms of mushroom exploration, agreed to establish a base in Jamaica because of the country’s open-minded view of mushrooms. In addition, mushrooms in a tropical climate are far more psychedelic than European types which are commonly used for culinary purposes.
Bailey did not reveal cost or source of funding for the research which began in August, 2019.
With Mitsis leading the research, he is confident they have a market-ready product. There are plans to commence trials in collaboration with Northern Caribbean University in Manchester parish, central Jamaica, in 2023.
“We are still in the process of running tests but next year we would like to be conducting tests in the treatment of alcohol addiction which is big in Jamaica, and nicotine addiction,” he disclosed.
Entheogen Biotech have ventured into a multi-billion dollar market that Fortune magazine recently reported, thrived even during COVID-19.
Global Mushroom Market
The publication reports that, “Global mushroom market size was 14.35 million tonnes in 2020. The market is projected to grow from 15.25 million tonnes in 2021 to 24.05 million tonnes in 2028 at a CAGR of 6.74% during the 2021-2028 period. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with mushroom witnessing a positive impact on demand across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a higher growth of 6.3% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019.”