Australia has become the first country to recognize psychedelics as medicines after the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved their use for the treatment of mental health conditions like depression and PTSD.
MDMA and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, will now be considered Schedule 8 drugs which means they are “controlled” and can only be supplied by a pharmacist on prescription. Other Schedule 8 drugs include morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl often used post-surgery as strong painkillers.
The rescheduling will allow MDMA to be used to treat a host of mental health conditions in a medical setting, such as in a closed therapy session, but they will still be considered prohibited substances for all other usages.
But the details are unclear for psychiatrists as drug-containing substances have not been evaluated by the administration, meaning prescribing unapproved substances.
Stephen Bright, the director of the Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine charity, said, “The details so far from the TGA are thin. There are no products available, and aside from myself and a handful of colleagues, there’s no one trained to provide the treatment. We’re waiting for a bit more information, to get an idea of what this looks like in practice.”
Just this past year, a COMPASS Pathways study found that after a single dose of psilocybin therapy, “approximately 30% of patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) were in remission at week 3… with a sustained response seen through week 12. ” This rescheduling will allow for those studying plant medicines or those suffering from treatment-resistant mental illness to have an easier time accessing resources.
To hear more about the legal use of psychedelics in Australia, check out the video below:
Featured image from Pexels credit Ben Mack