This week’s Psychedelic Guide is Joya Halls. Joya has over two decades of experience working in health care. With educational training in health sciences, nursing, pharmacy, and cannabinoid medicine, Joya rounds out her portfolio with extensive experience working in medical cannabis and in the psychedelic space. A particular focus in her career has been working with those with dependency, mental health and chronic pain issues. Joya thrives as a patient advocate and volunteers for groups such as MAPS Canada, Canadian Centre for Psychedelic Science and SheCann Cannabis.
When did you first become involved in the psychedelic industry and why?
I first started volunteering for the Canadian Centre for Psychedelic Science in October 2019. While working in the medical cannabis industry, I worked with quite a few Veterans who were self-medicating with magic mushrooms to treat their PTSD. This sparked my interest in therapeutic psychedelics.
Do you, or have you taken, psychedelic substances?
In my late teens/early 20s is when I was really experimenting with psychedelics. I’ve taken LSD, ecstasy and mushrooms. These are relatively safe substances and I really think anyone working in the psychedelics space would benefit from experiencing what each drug can do, as they do not all cause the same effects.
What’s your favourite psychedelic compound?
MDMA. It really helps with trauma work and healing.
Do your parents/family members know what you’re doing?
My family members know I volunteer/consult in the psychedelics industry. My older brother and sister were ravers so it comes up in conversation sometimes. Jack The Tab.
Have you had an experience with mental health/chronic pain?
I have a chronic pain condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia. It’s nicknamed the suicide disease because the pain can be absolutely excruciating. And that pain will mess with your mental health.
What’s your vision of the industry in 20 years?
Gosh, in 20 years, I’d love for these substances to be true medications and covered by drug benefits. I’d also love for responsible adults to have easy access to these substances if they’re wishing to do therapeutic work on themselves at home, or have a safe and fun experience with friends.
What are your biggest worries for the industry?
I am super concerned that this is going to mimic the cannabis industry. I look around at some of the major players and I can see the dollar signs in their eyes. Companies wanting to patent something that was created in nature, or in a lab 80ish years ago…that is ugly.
Who are your heroes?
Very good question. I have heroes who I interact with daily and am fortunate enough to call friends. Whether it’s a friend who’s continuing on after ending a 23-year marriage or a friend who dedicates their whole life to helping and educating patients when they themselves are a patient, or a friend who bucks the system, starts an independent store and gives up the stability of a “career”. These people inspire me. These people are my heroes.
If you could create a psychedelic to do anything you wanted, what would it do?
Interesting question. I’d love to be able to choose a time and space to be in. Like an experience, you’ve had and want to relive. A favourite concert, an amazing travel experience, first time holding your child, etc. Would be even more amazing if you could take others on the experience with you.
We’d like to thank Joya for being a part of the Psychedelic Guides series. Stay tuned for weekly profiles on leaders in the psychedelic industry.