Mind Medicine Australia: Psychedelics to treat mental health disorders

Friday, June 19, 2020 at 2:59:41 PM GMT+10:00

WATCH: We talk to Peter Hunt, Chairman of Mind Medicine Australia about the emerging psychedelic sector and its potential in treating mental illness.


Mind Medicine Australia is the organisation working to develop the treatment of mental health disorders in Australia with psychedelic drugs and therapy. Chairman of Mind Medicine Australia, Peter Hunt spoke to Boardroom.Media CEO Will Canty this morning to unpack the story.


Psychedelic treatment


Discussing the emerging business of psychedelics Hunt talks to the cause for interest in the space, being the lack of available solutions to growing global mental health concerns. Hunt describes psychedelic medicine as “treatment innovation” where trials are showcasing impressive remission rates, outperforming solutions in the market. The dosage for psychedelics is also appearing to be much lower than pharmaceuticals with only 2-3 doses required as opposed to life long treatment plans, as seen with antidepressants. 


Psychedelics are expected to reach the market after the finalisation of drug trials in the USA and Europe. One current trial in phase 3 currently is MDMA therapy to treat PTSD. Hunt suggests that a feasible time frame for that particular solution to be commercialised is from 18-24 months in the USA. 



Challenges for the sector


Since the Nixon Government’s War on Drugs in the 70’s psychedelics have been listed under “Schedule 9 of the Poison standard”, stating that the medicines “have no medicinal value” and “are subject to abuse”. Hunt hopes to see these medicines rescheduled due to the lack of substantial evidence or data to support their current grouping. Despite successful use of the psychotherapy in the 50s and 60s, America’s response to drugs in the 70s has prevented further research from occurring in the sector until recently.


“Over the last 20 years we’ve had a massive renaissance in research and it's that increasing momentum which has put these medicines on the front line in terms of potential as therapies for serious mental illnesses.”


- Peter Hunt, Chairman, Mind Medicine Australia


Mental Health


With a $180 billion dollar cost to the Australian economy from the mental illness sector, Hunt sees a “significant impact” that psychedelic medicine and therapy could have in addressing those costs. With PTSD and depression leading to not only suffering but low productivity levels, Hunt highlights the importance of supporting the innovation of safe treatments in this space, that can be managed in a controlled environment.


“In that medically controlled environment, all the data says that they [psychedelics] are not addictive… it's just part of the stigma thats been associated with these medicines now for a number of decades.”


With both preparation and integration sessions, these drugs can be highly effective and safe. Hunt highlights the need to develop the market ethically and put the patient at the centre of care. 


“Australia could lead the world in this and it would be an amazing demonstration of the innovation that we’re capable of having as a nation”


Psychedelics, though still in its early stages  in terms of testing and regulation, could follow in the trajectory of the multi-billion dollar Cannabis sector, for investors ready to take a high risk for an exponential reward.


By: Velvet-Belle Templeman, Boardroom.Media

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