Australia Legalizes MDMA and Psilocybin for Medical Use

Written by Lydia Kariuki

In spite of the increased interest in medical psilocybin and MDMA, most countries have shied away from going all out to legalize the compounds. Last Friday, the Australian government made a public announcement indicating that they will soon be legalizing the use of psilocybin and MDMA for the treatment of two medical conditions; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

Australia’s  FDA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), issued a statement last week indicating that as of July 1, psychiatrists in Australia will be able to prescribe MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) for the treatment of PTSD and psilocybin for the treatment of TRD. Psychiatrists will need approval from the Authorised Prescriber Scheme to allow them to prescribe this form of treatment to patients. These psychedelics will be administered in controlled settings under the supervision of the psychiatrist and other medical personnel.

With this move, psilocybin and MDMA will be reclassified under Schedule 8 (Controlled Drugs) medicines of the Poisons Standard. However, the two psychedelics will remain under Schedule 9 (Prohibited Substances) for other uses other than the treatment of PTSD and TRD.

Both TRD and PTSD are difficult-to-treat conditions and hence most patients end up learning to “live with the condition.” Psychedelics may offer the much needed respite and this landmark decision by the Australian government has been embraced by affected patients as well as the global medical community at large.

About the author

Lydia Kariuki