Australia Embarks On Its First Ever Psychedelic Drug Study To Treat Anxiety

by : Julia Banim on : 12 Dec 2020 17:49
AustraliaPA Images/Pixabay

Researchers in Melbourne, Australia are preparing to launch a world-first clinical trial to investigate whether psilocybin – the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’ – could help treat people suffering from severe persistent anxiety.

This trial, sponsored by Monash University, is regarded to be amongst the world’s largest studies into the use of psychedelic drugs for mental health related purposes, and is expected to elevate Australia’s status in the emerging field of psychedelic-assisted therapy.


This innovative new treatment model sees therapists administer a high dose of mind-altering drugs to a mental health patient during a series of psychotherapy sessions.

Canada Is Allowing People With Depression To Do Psychedelic MushroomsWikimedia Commons

As reported by The Age, this follows the launch of Australia’s very first approved trial of psychedelic-assisted therapy at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital, where palliative care patients were treated with psilocybin in an attempt to reduce anxiety and depression.

Chief principal investigator and Monash research fellow, Paul Liknaitzky, told The Age that current approaches to mental illness are unsuccessful in many cases. Only around half are said to respond to available psychological or pharmacological treatments, with relapse being a frequent occurence.


The team will look into whether or not a synthetic type of magic mushrooms could be used to safely and effectively treat generalised anxiety disorder, which is said to affect an approximate 6% of Australians at some time in their lives.

A second trial will look into whether MDMA – or ‘ecstasy’ – could be used to treat patients living with intractable post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Health, Anxiety, Australia, Magic mushrooms, Now


The Age
  1. The Age

    Can the active ingredient in magic mushrooms help treat anxiety? Researchers want to know