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Hands holding dried psychedelic mushrooms.
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Australia to legalise MDMA and magic mushrooms for medical use

It’s set to become the first country in the world to do so

Leah Glynn
Written by
Leah Glynn

UPDATE July 10, 2023: Psychiatrists are now able to apply to become authorised prescribers of MDMA and psilocybin (aka magic mushrooms) to be used as part of therapy in controlled clinical environments. This new approach will be available to patients with treatment-resistant depression and PTSD.

Mind Medicine Australia has organised for the drugs to be supplied to Australian psychiatrists via a partnership with Optimi Health, a manufacturer based in Canada. The supply chain will be tightly controlled, and licensed pharmacists will require permits to hold and deliver the medicines.

Australia is the first country in the world to downgrade MDMA and psilocybin from schedule 9 (prohibited substances) to schedule 8 (controlled drugs), and to begin this vital treatment innovation.


Following a landmark announcement by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on February 3, psychiatrists with specialised expertise will soon be able to prescribe MDMA and psilocybin to patients with specific treatment-resistant mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

The changes come into effect from July 2023, making Australia the very first country in the world to officially recognise psychedelics as legitimate medicines. It won’t be a free-for-all, however, with prescriptions to be limited and the drugs to remain prohibited for any other use. 

“Prescribing will be limited to psychiatrists, given their specialised qualifications and expertise to diagnose and treat patients with serious mental health conditions,” a statement published by the TGA read. “The decision specifically recognises the current lack of options for patients with specific treatment-resistant mental illnesses and the supporting evidence of safety and efficacy from clinical trials.”

While the news comes as a surprise to many considering Australia is regarded as a highly conservative country, it has also been praised by those in the health and medical industry.

“The safe ‘re-medicalisation’ of certain historically illicit drugs is a very welcome step away from what has been decades of demonisation,” said Dr David Caldicott, a clinical senior lecturer in emergency medicine at Australian National University. “In addition to a clear and evolving therapeutic benefit, it also offers the chance to catch up on the decades of lost opportunity [of] delving into the inner workings of the human mind, abandoned for so long as part of an ill-conceived, ideological ‘war on drugs’.”

The TGA’s decision to reclassify these drugs comes off the back of thousands of Australians who lodged submissions in support of the change, where it was deemed that the benefits far outweighed any risks. More information regarding the legalisation of these drugs is set to be released over the coming months.

ICYMI: the new $5 note is set to honour the culture and history of First Nations people.

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