Australia is on the cusp of its first-ever trial of using psychedelic drugs to treat mental illness.
Despite historical social stigma, MDMA and magic mushrooms are about five years away from being approved nationally, with the Victorian Government being proposed as our official leaders in psychedelic medicine research.
Mind Medicine Australia’s executive officer Dr Paul Litknaitzky told Guardian Australia that “Australia has been pretty slow” in joining the current international lift on the stigma surrounding psychedelic therapy, but this is all about to change.
St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne announced at the beginning of this year that they were going to trial psychedelic medicines as a way to treat anxiety. The study will use 30 terminally ill patients and will aim to help them with their crippling anxiety through synthetic magic mushrooms. It will continue until 2021.
Dr Paul Litknaitzky expressed that treatment would involve talk therapy as “the particular way participants are prepared and supported matters a lot.”
Global studies have found that 80% of participants using magic mushroom therapy to quit smoking have been successful and the US Food and Drug Administration have labelled the use of synthetic magic mushrooms as “breakthrough therapies.”
While there is still lots of work to be done, this is a brave first step for Australia.
If the trials here are just as successful as those overseas, perhaps those who suffer from depression, anxiety, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorders won’t have to suffer as much or be given the seemingly most common but not necessarily best solution of anti-depressants.