03 Feb 2023, 14:37

Australia to legalise MDMA and magic mushrooms for medical use

SYDNEY, Feb 3, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Australia's drugs watchdog on Friday

announced that psychedelic substances MDMA and psilocybin -- more commonly
known as ecstasy and magic mushrooms -- will soon be used in the treatment of
depression and post-traumatic stress.

Psychiatrists will be able to prescribe the two substances from July, the
Therapeutic Goods Administration said after finding "sufficient evidence for
potential benefits in certain patients".

The two drugs are currently "prohibited substances" and can only be used in
closely controlled clinical trials.

The administration said they had been found to be "relatively safe" when
administered in a medical setting and provided an "altered state of
consciousness" that could help patients.

Mike Musker, a mental health and suicide prevention researcher at the
University of South Australia, welcomed the move as "long-awaited".

"There are many people in the community experiencing PTSD (post-traumatic
stress disorder) and depression, particularly army veterans and people who
have worked in emergency services, where standard psychiatric drugs have not
worked and offer no relief," he said.

Musker said the two drugs "reduce inhibitions" and could help people process
difficult images and memories.

For now the use of MDMA and psilocybin will be limited to the treatment of
depression and post-traumatic stress.

But advocates hope to one day use them for alcohol dependence, obsessive
compulsive disorder and eating disorders.

Psychedelics have been used by indigenous peoples for millennia, but Western
researchers only started seriously looking into their potential uses in the
middle of the last century.

The drugs became symbols of the counter-culture movement of the 1960s and
were banned.

Authorities in Canada and the United States are among those who have already
permitted the medical use of MDMA and psilocybin.


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