Recognize Psilocybin and MDMA as Treatment
Australia is now the first country to recognize psychedelics as a treatment option for various medical conditions. The country has shifted towards classifying MDMA and psilocybin to permit authorized medical practitioners and psychiatrists to prescribe these drugs.
Interestingly, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has taken moves to allow the prescription of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression and MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a step forward in providing alternate treatments and relief that are effective.
Psilocybin, the active ingredients in magic truffles and MDMA, are now considered Schedule 8 drugs. This means that they are approved only for controlled use.
From 1st July 2023, MDMA and Psilocybin, which are Schedule 9 of the Poisons Standard, will be Schedule 8. This implies that they will no longer be considered prohibited substances but controlled drugs.
Therefore, certain mental health conditions can be treated using these substances. However, this is only with a prescription from an authorized psychiatrist.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will now permit the use of psilocybin and MDMA for treatment-resistant depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Both drug substances are now considered to be beneficial to some patients, and this is based on research evidence. Also, due to the lack of other effective alternatives for this medical condition, TGA has affirmed that MDMA and psilocybin are the only options with many advantages for patients.
What Next After the Approval?
The approval only permits psychiatrists alone to prescribe medications for serious mental health conditions. This is because of their experience and specialized qualifications. Psychiatrists can only gain prescribing approval for these substances from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and this is under the Authorized Prescriber Scheme. This is after they have gotten approval from an official Human Research Ethics Committee. This scheme ensures strict protocols are followed and guaranteed for patient safety.
Researchers can use them in clinical trials, but possessing these substances without the right authorization is considered illegal.
Will MDMA and Psilocybin Be Authorized for Treatment of Other Mental Conditions?
The decision to authorize the use of these substances was made after careful consideration. However, the conclusion was to use the substances only for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and treatment-resistant depression. This is because there is multiple evidence showing the potential benefits people with these conditions can enjoy.
If newer evidence comes to light showing that these substances and be beneficial for the treatment of other mental conditions, the TGA will carefully assess the application and make changes to the Poisons Standard. This could possibly expand prescribing of both substances for the additional mental conditions.
For now, MDMA and psilocybin are restricted to medical research and clinical trials as stated in Schedule 9 of the Poisons Standard. However, with this new classification, these substances must not be used for treatment purposes other than for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD).