Ausnew Home Care | 'Magic mushroom' trial in WA could be the key to treating depression

'Magic mushroom' trial in WA could be the key to treating depression

disability Disability Employment Services disability law disability stereotypes intellectual disability Living With a Disability NDIS NDIS Aged Care Approved NDIS and Personal Care NDIS Plan no ‘dis’ in disability. Personal Care Services under NDIS Seeing the ability in disability umbrella of disability

The first legally grown batch of pharmaceutical-grade mushroom-derived psilocybin will soon be planted in south-west Western Australia after an alternative-drug company received ethics approval to carry out the state's first clinical trial using psilocybin to treat depression.  

Psilocybin is the active, or psychedelic, ingredient in what is commonly known as magic mushrooms.

UWA Professor Sean Hood is the principal investigator of this trial, which will be conducted at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth and involve about 60 participants.

Professor Hood said each patient would receive two 25-milligram doses of the drug a month apart, followed by an intensive regime of psychotherapy.

"It's given in conjunction with some psychological therapy and also involves the family member or their loved one," he said.

A wide exterior shot of Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth.
The clinical trial will take place in the Harry Perkins Research centre at Fiona Stanley Hospital.(ABC News)

"Hopefully the results will show that we're able to do this in a way that has a benefit for patients that involves their family and loved ones, in a way that helps integrate the benefits of this exposure to this medicine most most usefully.

"Part of my reason for doing this trial is to give us a track record here in WA of using this medication in a medical setting, in a safe way so that our pharmacies and our hospitals are prepared to enable patients to get access to these substances, rather than have to use less legal means."

A man in a suit sits on a leather cuch, with his leg crossed over the other
Shaun Duffy believes attitudes towards psychedelic drugs are shifting.(Supplied: Reset Mind Sciences)

Sourcing the mushrooms

The pharmaceutical-grade psilocybin for the initial trial will be imported from Canada, but the company behind the research Reset Mind Sciences hopes to soon be able to produce and cultivate the drug on home soil.

Chief executive Shaun Duffy said the company would begin growing magic mushrooms in the south-west of the state within weeks. 

A small brown mushroom sprouts from dark green grass
It could be years before psilocybin becomes more freely available as a treatment.(ABC South West: Roxanne Taylor)

The company has been working with the CSIRO to develop a state-of-the-art grow room, and once complete, it will be the first in Australia to legally grow the drug. 

"We have built a special-purpose grow room for the mushrooms, which will be housed at an undisclosed location, but we have all the licensing in place to do that," he said.

"Once we have started growing mushrooms, it's a separate piece of work to start then extracting the psychoactive ingredient psilocybin and producing that to a pharmaceutical grade to meet the TGA standards."

Reset Mind Sciences is a wholly owned subsidiary of Little Green Pharma, the alternative medicine company that first brought medicinal cannabis to Australia.

Last resort for some

To be eligible for the medical trial, participants must first be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, a term used to describe patients who have had at least two attempts of a validated antidepressant therapy.

This can be either a medication therapy, a clinical psychological therapy, or both.

Enlighten Mental Health co-founder and chief executive Eternity Hausen said the trial was a huge step for those wanting to legally obtain the drug to treat depression or PTSD after other recognised treatments had failed.

"What we're finding is that people are taking their mental health into their own hands, and they are trying psychedelics in a recreational setting for their own mental health," she said.

"If these substances are proven to be effective in a clinical trial, a wider group of people may be offered these substances in the future.

"There's so many people out there who have treatment-resistant depression or PTSD and they may benefit from having access to these substances."

Older Post Newer Post