In Australia, the intoxicants ecstasy and magic mushrooms have been allowed to be used as medicinal products for therapeutic purposes since the beginning of the month. Down Under is the first country in the world to have approved party drugs as medicines.
The synthetic amphetamine derivative MDMA, a component of ecstasy, may be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The active substance psilocybin, which is contained in psychoactive mushrooms, is permitted for the treatment of otherwise untreatable depression. But experts are now sharply critical.
Leading psychologists and neuroscientists targeted the Australian Medicines Agency (TGA). She gave in to pressure from the public and lobby groups to "make these experimental treatments accessible outside of clinical trials," according to a post published in the Australian
Although the first results of studies on the use of intoxicants are promising, many questions remain unanswered. The experts explained that treatment with MDMA or psilocybin must also be accompanied by psychotherapy. "Research in this regard is certainly still in its infancy."
The Australian "Guardian" quoted a TGA spokesman as saying that the agency's decision was in no way influenced by lobby groups or the media. The benefits of such treatment in some patients under the supervision of a licensed psychiatrist outweigh the possible disadvantages. For some treatment-resistant patients, the substances may be the only option, the TGA justified its decision in February.
Strict regulations apply to the granting of the necessary permission: Psychiatrists who want to use the active ingredients must obtain approval from the TGA after review and approval by an ethics committee.
What is MDMA?
MDMA induces euphoria in people. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin (also known as the "happiness hormone") are released, which significantly lift the mood. Psilocybin is hallucinogenic and mind-expanding. Unlike other antidepressants, psilocybin does not dampen the emotional world, but rather intensifies emotions and sensory perceptions. However, experts warn of possible psychoses.