Irie Selkirk is the co-founder and Director of Rise Wellness Retreat in Jamaica, providing psilocybin experiences; co-founder of Sansero Life Sciences - a psilocybin bioscience company based in Canada; co-founder of the MAPS Canada Toronto Support Chapter, and the Chief Communications Officer for SheCann Cannabis - a female focused medical cannabis advocacy group. She is an expert on patient care, education and acquisition focused on psychedelics, natural and plant medicines.
You have an impressive background working within Psychedelic medicines and advocacy. Could you tell us how you found your way in to the space?
With a lifetime of positive plant medicine experiences, I saw firsthand how psychedelics and natural substances completely changed patients' lives for the better. The transformations are so profound, that I was driven to work with, and advocate for, the legal use of these incredibly safe and effective treatments for those in my family and my community--and I became an advocate and educator for both patients and health care professionals. It became clear to me that the current treatments and medications were simply not doing enough for so many individuals, especially those most at-risk of misuse and harm, and also that the pharmaceutical industry was not motivated to innovate on these treatments. This led me to join the healthcare industry, with a focus on cannabis. Working with patients, practitioners and cannabis gave me the opportunity to share information and create access to the healing properties of the plant, such as pain reduction, improved sleep health and stress relief. My work in psychedelics was a natural next step, because once a patient has increased quality of life physically, they start to look at the depression and anxiety that remains, and this is where we see patients reporting unparalleled mental health improvement with psychedelics.
I grew up in Jamaica, which instilled in me a deep, stigma-free appreciation and understanding of natural healing substances, as well as the world around us and how we interact with it. These experiences gave my partner and I the unique opportunity to legally work with this substance in Jamaica for three years, collecting data and truly changing peoples’ lives along the way. From cessation of suicidal ideation, increased well-being, and improved focus, to alcohol reduction, our formulas are incredibly effective, and there is such a great need for innovation in mental health care, that I find myself fully compelled and inspired to continue this work.
You are the co founder of the MAPS Toronto Volunteer Chapter. How did that come to be and what is the focus of it today?
I am honoured to offer leadership for the Toronto MAPS Canada Support Group, we are a recent addition to the organization, and we exist to support the good work they do across the country. MAPS Canada sponsors and conducts scientific research into psychedelics, builds relationships with the international scientific community and local research, health, hospital, and academic organizations. Earlier this year, I spoke on a panel with Mark Hayden, the Executive Director, and we found ourselves in Toronto discussing this group the following month, there was a natural fit and it’s a real pleasure to be involved. We hold events and mobilize volunteers to assist with fundraising activities and more. Essentially, MAPS Canada envisions a world where psychedelics are available by prescription for a variety of uses and where research is governed by rigorous scientific evaluation of risks and benefits; where we will build and provide education programs to train psychedelic therapists, the general public, and other individuals who are involved with our research. I invite those local to the GTA to contact us to join our monthly meetings.
Rise Wellness is an immersive retreat experience in Jamaica that allows people to experience psilocybin. Can you tell us what a typical experience is for someone who visits and what some of the transformational experiences have been for people who have done a retreat?
I founded Rise Wellness on the strong belief that a combination of natural medicine consumption, self-care and mindfulness can infuse a sense of purpose and wonder into our modern lives, connecting us with ourselves and those around us in a healing and meaningful way.
At Rise Wellness we have created a fully integrated wellness experience, combining years of wellness, service, and science to help guide our guests along a path of improvement and self-fulfillment. Our guests experience workshops, breathwork, restorative body and movement classes and treatments, such as massage and Shiatsu, as well as, the opportunity to experience microdoses of specially-formulated psilocybin, and personalized guidance, to pioneer a safe and innovative way to enrich their lives. We have curated an unparalleled experience, with our very own high-vitality menu, exclusive integration workbook, and specially designed program that is entirely science-based.
Our guests tell us that the experience is like a “reset button” on life, from stress reduction to much deeper work around traumas and PTSD as well, we ensure everyone receives a personalized experience, from mothers to Veterans and everyone in between. We’ve brought our expertise of age-old plant healing and scientific innovation together to consistently exceed our guests expectations about what a healing retreat is all about. Our program is designed to create lasting and meaningful change in our guests lives and the feedback is resoundingly positive.
Rise recently merged with CannaGlobal Wellness to create a new psychedelic company. Why was this a good fit and what synergies exist in this new company?
We are thrilled to be merging with Cannaglobal and Sansero Life Sciences to create a worldwide wellness powerhouse. Lorne Gertner has a wealth of experience in many industries including cannabis and mental health, and his insight and expertise in innovation are the perfect fit. With Cannaglobal’s complementary assets and reach, we can expedite our overall vision, and ultimately it comes down to just that--a shared vision to truly make the world a better place.
What are the plans for expanding Rise as a company in the near future?
We plan to expand our offerings globally, Rise will continue to offer our consummate retreats in Jamaica while we aim to bring our special brand of healing to Canada, with a one-of-a-kind adaptogen bar, that will serve up delicious beverages and functional medicines as food, allowing our customers to literally embody the healthy changes reported by individuals who partake in our healing offerings. Our retail education space and integrative health clinic will follow. Our integrative clinic will offer cutting edge healing, at the intersection of technology, psychedelic healing and established healing therapies. We will set a standard for care in this space that and for the future that evolves what “medicine” can and should be, to rebuild the foundations of life based on profound mental health improvement, increased creativity, reduced stress, and an overall better state of body and mind.