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Regulators Reject Bid To Legalise Magic Mushrooms And MDMA In Australia For Therapeutic Use

Stewart Perrie


Regulators Reject Bid To Legalise Magic Mushrooms And MDMA In Australia For Therapeutic Use

Regulators have rejected a bid to legalise magic mushrooms and MDMA in Australia for therapeutic use.

Scientists and researchers have been keen to see how the two substances could be used to treat depression, post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

However, the legislation in Australia is very strict when it comes to drugs, even under a research environment.

A team made a submission to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to see if they would reschedule psilocybin and MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy).


Credit: PACredit: PA

They were hoping it would be downgraded from Schedule 9 to Schedule 8, which would bring it down from a prohibited substance to a controlled one.

This week, the TGA rejected that application.

That means researchers who were hoping to utilise each drug's unique ability to make people open up and find new perspectives on situations will have to continue using the approved methods.


The TGA was concerned that rescheduling the drugs could change the public's perception on them and increase recreational use.

"The benefit is very limited because psilocybin studies indicate only potential therapeutic value in circumstances where the treatment was provided to subjects within the setting of a clinical trial," the TGA said.

"In relation to the risks, I am satisfied that psilocybin poses a high danger for both acute and long-term effects if abused or misused by way of access outside of strictly controlled medical and scientific research settings."


"Given this increased risk to individuals of acute and long-term effects, a high level of control across the supply chain commensurate with Schedule 9 is warranted."

The Therapeutic Goods Administration's decision was backed up by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), who thought it would be inappropriate to reschedule the substances.

Credit: Arp (Creative Commons)Credit: Arp (Creative Commons)

The Australian Medical Association wasn't totally against the idea, however warned that more large-scale studies would have to be completed to get them over the line.


According to Vice, the TGA also noted how many of the submissions came from people who were patients.

Mind Medicine Australia was the group who made their submission last year and they believed psilocybin and MDMA could do wonders for patients.

"The rescheduling will enable psychiatrists and specialist addiction physicians to more easily access these medicines to augment therapy for patients suffering from key mental illnesses such as depression, PTSD and for the depression and anxiety often associated with a terminal illness diagnosis (and hopefully in the future for substance abuse, OCD, anorexia and early stage dementia)," they wrote.

A study from Harvard found that between 60 to 80 percent of people with depression or post traumatic stress disorder had evidence of remission after taking one of the two drugs.


Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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