Australia has made a historic move in the medical world by becoming the first country to officially recognize psychedelics as a form of medicine. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has granted approval for the use of magic mushrooms and MDMA (Ecstasy) for patients suffering from certain mental health conditions. As of July, both substances will be reclassified as Schedule 8 drugs, meaning they can be used under controlled conditions with a prescription from a licensed psychiatrist.
It is important to note that while these drugs have been approved for medicinal use, they will still be considered Schedule 9 drugs for non-medical purposes and remain prohibited. Psychiatrists seeking to prescribe these substances must first be approved by the TGA’s authorized prescriber scheme. Despite this significant decision, there are currently no approved products that contain either of these substances, and psychiatrists will have to legally supply unapproved medicines.
The decision taken by the TGA has come as a surprise to many, including Stephen Bright, the director of the Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine charity. On the other hand, Associate Professor David Caldicott, an advocate for the use of these drugs in treating soldiers with psychological trauma, has expressed his delight at the decision. However, Professor Susan Rossell, a cognitive neuropsychologist, remains cautious due to the lack of data on the long-term outcomes of these substances.
The TGA considered thousands of public submissions before reaching their conclusion, deciding that the benefits for patients and the implementation of tight controls outweighed the potential risks. This landmark decision is set to have a significant impact on the field of mental health treatment and will likely pave the way for further research and development in this area.