MDMA and magic mushrooms could be used to treat mental illness in Australia after promising report – hack

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A review by a group of independent experts found that MDMA and psilocybin or “magic mushrooms” may hold promise for therapeutic use.

The review, which was commissioned by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and released on Thursday, found that psychedelic drugs could potentially be used to treat treatment-resistant mental illnesses – but only if they were used in closely supervised clinical settings, with intensive professionals. Support.

The TGA assessed whether to reduce MDMA and psilocybin from prohibited drugs (Schedule 9) to controlled drugs (Schedule 8).

This means that if the drugs were reprogrammed, they could be used in clinical therapies to treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other complex mental illnesses.

A little bit closer

MDMA and other psychedelics have been considered dangerous since the start of the “war on drugs”, but scientific research into their therapeutic uses is constantly evolving.

While Thursday’s report brings Australia closer to using MDMA and psilocybin to treat mental illnesses, the TGA will not make a final decision on the reclassification until December.

Edith Cowan University School of Medical and Health Sciences Director of Psychedelic Research Dr Stephen Bright believes it is only a matter of time before psychedelics are used in therapies mental health.

“There is a lot of research on how psilocybin can be used in the treatment of treatment-resistant depression, for obsessive-compulsive disorder, to help people come to terms with terminal illness, for disorders related to it. use of substances. “

Dr Bright thinks MDMA will become mainstream first, although it is not a “classic psychedelic”.

“MDMA is primarily used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, but there is also interesting research on MDMA to treat anxiety in adults with autism,” he said.

“Earlier this year, a phase three clinical trial was published, so we’re getting data that is sort of beyond the promise now. “

“Fine line” between self-medication and leisure

Like everything that has already been forbidden, where there is a will, there is a way.

“I think there is a very fine line between what we call recreational use and medical use, because there are certainly people who are currently using some of these psychedelic drugs in an underground therapeutic environment,” he said. said Dr Bright.

“And the problem with that is that they are not regulated, we have no quality control.”

Although Dr Bright believes the regulations would eliminate some of the dangers associated with drug use, he strongly advised against self-medication.

“People who have a pre-existing mental health problem, adding the drug on top of that without the proper psychotherapy is actually quite dangerous and could make their mental health worse instead of improving,” he said. declared.

Despite the growing body of research, Dr Bright believes that medical use is still a long way off.

“We need to step up the research we are doing and provide many opportunities for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors to be trained in and deliver therapy.”

The pleasure and pain of psychedelics

Merlin Faber is many things: a convicted drug offender, a law student who believes “you have to try everything once.” He was also sleeping the morning a package arrived that changed his life.

“I heard a knock on the door, went to sign a package and went back to bed thinking it was motorcycle parts or something I had ordered from overseas,” the player said. 27 years old.

But they weren’t motorcycle parts. It was half a kilogram of MDMA.

“About 10 to 15 minutes later, I heard about 20 car doors slam outside my house, people at the front door and the back door, knocking on windows and shouting my name.

“That’s when I realized the Australian Federal Police got involved.

Merlin first tried psychedelics as a teenager with friends in Canada, and describes his own experiences as therapeutic.

“I found that people who had suffered trauma early in their life became much more open.”

In 2017, he met a guy at the University of Adelaide, who shared his interest in psychedelics.

“This person sort of knew how to get drugs online. So we started talking about our experiences, and I was told I could get help,” he said.

“I wasn’t really involved in the procurement.”

But a jury disagreed and found him guilty of importing a marketable amount of a border-controlled drug.

Merlin was ultimately sentenced to four years in prison, with a 16-month non-parole period.

“The prison has certainly had a significant impact … I would never recommend it to anyone,” he said.

“It gives hope”

For Merlin, the idea that MDMA and psilocybin could be decriminalized for medicinal purposes is music to his ears – but not for the reason one would expect.

“The use of psilocybin as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and end-of-life therapy is really quite amazing,” he said.

“And so seeing things in Australia change, like the decriminalization of marijuana use in ACT, it really gives you hope.”

Recently released on parole, Merlin is now studying law at the University of South Australia and hopes to use his experience to help others.

“It galvanized my determination to advocate for a reassessment of attitudes towards the way we treat people, primarily around drugs.”


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