Australia Legalizes Magic Mushrooms and MDMA for Medical Purposes

The Australian government has announced that it is rescheduling psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and MDMA to allow for medical use for those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and treat-resistant depression.

The country is moving the substances to Schedule 8 under the country’s drug code, allowing psychiatrists to prescribe them for medical and therapeutic uses. The substances will remain in the stricter Schedule 9 for non-medical use.

“The decision acknowledges the current lack of options for patients with specific treatment-resistant mental illnesses,” said Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on Friday. “It means that psilocybin and MDMA can be used therapeutically in a controlled medical setting starting on July 1. However, patients may be vulnerable during psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, requiring controls to protect these patients.”

“The decision follows applications made to the TGA to reclassify the substances in the Poisons Standard, extensive public consultation, a report from an expert panel, and advice received from the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling”, the TGA says. “There are currently no approved products containing psilocybin or MDMA that the TGA has evaluated for quality, safety and efficacy. However, this amendment will allow authorised psychiatrists to access and legally supply a specified ’unapproved’ medicine containing these substances to patients under their care for these specific uses.”

Some in the U.S. are hoping this move will help give momentum to similar efforts towards reform in the United States.

Australia’s policy change is one that every country should consider: suffering people, regardless of nationality, need more opportunities to access novel treatments,” Rick Doblin, executive director of the U.S.-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, said in a press release. “We hope that this announcement will encourage more international discussion and collaboration towards access to psychedelic therapies and comprehensive drug policy reform.”

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