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Australia takes a bold step forward, approves psychedelic mushrooms for treatment-resistant depression


Starting July 1, psychedelic mushrooms can be prescribed for treatment-resistant depression in Australia, according to a surprise announcement by the government.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration stated that authorised psychiatrists can prescribe the mushrooms only to patients whose depression has proven resistant to traditional treatments and standard medication.

The announcement comes after multiple international research showed the potential of psilocybin in alleviating mental health issues.

The re-medicalisation of psilocybin is a welcome step away from decades of demonization and acknowledges the lack of options for patients with specific treatment-resistant mental illnesses.

MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, will also be medically available for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The safe medicalization of historically illicit drugs is expected to benefit thousands of Australians who are experiencing PTSD and depression, including army veterans and people who have experienced trauma.

The move will make Australia the first country in the world to officially recognise MDMA and psilocybin as medicines.

Although some may remain sceptical, the use of MDMA and psilocybin as tools rather than criminal evidence is expected to be an invaluable step. This is particularly true for the study of the human mind, which has been abandoned for so long as part of an ill-conceived “war on drugs”.

Australian laws will continue to classify the substances as Schedule 9 drugs, which mirrors practices in the United States where psilocybin and MDMA are classified as Schedule 1 drugs due to a lack of “accepted medical use.”

Despite this, Friday’s announcement has been warmly received by many Australian researchers, including Stephen Bright, a senior lecturer at Edith Cowan University, and Dr David Caldicott, a clinical senior lecturer in emergency medicine at the Australian National University.

Dr David Caldicott told the Guardian that the safe re-medicalisation of psilocybin is a welcome change from decades of demonisation. Thousands of people across Australia, including army veterans and people who have worked in emergency services, are expected to benefit from the medicinal use of psilocybin.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.


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