Byron Bay doctor Jamie Rickcord.
Byron Bay doctor Jamie Rickcord.

Move to treat PTSD with psychedelics blocked by TGA

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has decided not to recognise psilocybin mushrooms (or magic mushroom) and MDMA (ecstasy) as medicines to treat a number of conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and other mental illnesses.

Although the TGA's decision is not final, it goes against what advocates want.

The request was raised by Mind Medicine Australia, a charity that advocates for psychedelics not to be restricted so mental health professionals can access such substances more easily.

In the case of medicinal psilocybin there were 575 responses of which 553 (96 per cent) were supportive, 11 partially supportive and 11 opposed.

In the case of medicinal MDMA, there were 478 responses of which 453 (95 per cent) were supportive, 14 partially supportive and 11 opposed.

This Mind Medicine Australia video explains the way they hope to use psychedelics to treat mental illnesses.

Both psilocybin and MDMA have been granted Breakthrough Therapy Status by the Food and Drug Administration in the USA to fast-track their approval.

On the Northern Rivers, one doctor that has been trained and says he could start helping people living with PTSD is Dr Jamie Rickcord.

Dr Rickcord was one of the first GPs approved to treat patients with psilocybin-assisted therapy in northern NSW.

He said he was disappointed but not surprised by the TGA's decision.

"Everyone in our society is operating with this unconscious stigma about drugs such as cannabis and psychedelics, but the truth is that they have been scientifically proven to be a lot safer than many of the drugs actually available, whether it's alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines," he said.

"There are medical versions of opiates and amphetamines that are widely prescribed. Just because there is an illicit market, it doesn't preclude medical use. They can all be abused and they can all be used medically.


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"Why on earth is there such a funk about cannabinoids and psychedelics?

"It's just another bracket of drugs that can be used medically, and they are safer than the ones that are already out there."

Dr Rickcord said MMA will continue trying to change the TGA's decision.

"We will make a submission saying that their decisions is valid and noted, and we will submit our response to their concerns, and if they say no, they will have to provide further reasons as to why are not prepared to reschedule the drugs (to make them available to doctors to use in patients)."

Submissions must be sent to the TGA by March 4. The TGA's final decision will be announced on April 22.


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