The Medicinal Psychedelics Research Network (MPRN) brings together multidisciplinary researchers, policymakers and regulators to focus on the emerging field of medicinal psychedelics.
The last decade has seen a resurgence of interest in the therapeutic use of various psychedelic compounds such as psilocybin, MDMA, LSD and ayahuasca, primarily for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. New research programs with these drugs have been established at eminent institutions internationally such as Johns Hopkins, Imperial College, Kings College, Yale and NYU with researchers involved reporting remarkable early results. Both psilocybin and MDMA are now entering Phase 3 trials and have recently been granted ‘breakthrough therapy’ status by the FDA on the basis of initial evidence they may provide a substantial improvement over existing treatments.
However, the possible therapeutic use of such substances differs in important respects from existing approaches, and presents new challenges for medicines regulation and health policy, patient safety, and the design of appropriate treatment protocols that can optimise contextual and psychological factors shown to affect clinical outcomes. There are also further interesting issues related to the current socio-cultural and policy understandings of psychedelic plants and substances.
The MPRN aims to facilitate engagement between Australian and international colleagues to consider research, policy and regulatory questions, as well as potential new opportunities for patient treatment.
The MPRN will provide an opportunity for:
- Facilitating research collaborations between academic researchers, NGOs and industry
- Exploring regulatory approaches and issues relating to medicinal psychedelics
- Hosting research seminars, round-tables or workshops
- Leveraging established connections with leaders in this field in North America and Europe
- Sharing of new research and resources relevant to this area
- Considering issues of safety and ethics relating to patient access, models of treatment, and clinician training
- Researchers, government and NGO representatives to meet and share information in this rapidly evolving area
Medicinal cannabis and psychoactive plants (and related substances) for mental health and addiction
This one-day research forum took place on Friday 28 June at the University of Melbourne and was hosted by the School of Social and Political Science and Department of Psychiatry, in partnership with the Penington Institute (please see the event flyer (380kb pdf)). The event brought together invited researchers, policy makers and regulators working across mental health, addiction and medicines regulation to hear from eminent local and international researchers on the potential use of cannabinoids and medicinal psychedelics in the treatment of psychiatric and substance use disorders.
- Associate Professor Matthew Johnson, Johns Hopkins Medical School, Therapeutic potential of psilocybin for psychiatric and substance use disorders
- Dr Rick Doblin, Executive Director and founder MAPS, and Board member MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Making MDMA into a prescription medicine for the treatment of PTSD
Other presentations from the day will be available soon.
The Medicinal Psychedelics Research Network is based at the University of Melbourne involving researchers from the School of Social and Political Science, Department of Psychiatry, and School of Population and Global Health, and is open to academic researchers, government health policy and medicines regulation agency staff, representatives from NGOs working across drug policy, mental health, addiction, and industry representatives.
Dr Daniel Perkins
Dr Violeta Schubert
Assoc. Professor Jerome Sarris
Research and resources
- John Hopkins, Psychedelic Research Unit
- Imperial College London, Centre for Psychedelic Research
- Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy
- King’s College London, Centre for Affective Studies, psilocybin trials
A range of additional research will be added shortly.
- Carhart-Harris, R. L., Bolstridge, M., Day, C. M. J., Rucker, J. and Watts, D. E. et al. (2018). "Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: six-month follow-up," in Psychopharmacology 235(2), pp. 399-408
- Danforth, A. L., Grob, C. S., Struble, C., Feduccia, A. A. and Walker, N. et al. (2018). "Reduction in social anxiety after MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with autistic adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study," in Psychopharmacology (Berl) 235(11), pp. 3137-3148
- Doss, M. K., Weafer, J., Gallo, D. A. and Wit, H. de (2017). "MDMA Impairs Both the Encoding and Retrieval of Emotional Recollections," in Neuropsychopharmacology 43, pp. 791
- Hamill, J., Hallak, J., Dursun, S.M. and Baker, G. (2019). "Ayahuasca: Psychological and Physiologic Effects, Pharmacology and Potential Uses in Addiction and Mental Illness," in Curr Neuropharmacol 17(2), pp. 108-128
- Johnson, M. W., Garcia-Romeu, A. and Griffiths, R. R. (2017). "Long-term follow-up of psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation," in American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse 43(1), pp. 55-60
- Johnson, M. W., Griffiths, R. R., Hendricks, P. S. and Henningfield, J. E. (2018). "The abuse potential of medical psilocybin according to the 8 factors of the Controlled Substances Act," in Neuropharmacology 142, pp. 143-166
- Johnson, M.W., Hendricks, P.S., Barrett, F.S. and Griffiths, R.R. (2019). "Classic psychedelics: An integrative review of epidemiology, therapeutics, mystical experience, and brain network function," in Pharmacology & Therapeutics 197, pp. 83-102
- Mithoefer, M. C., Feduccia, A. A., Jerome, L., Mithoefer, M., Wagner, Z. and Walsh, S. et al. (2019). "MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of PTSD: study design and rationale for phase 3 trials based on pooled analysis of six phase 2 randomized controlled trials," in Psychopharmacology
- Mithoefer, M. C., Mithoefer, A. T., Feduccia, A. A. and Jerome, L. et al. (2018). "3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans, firefighters, and police officers: a randomised, double-blind, dose-response, phase 2 clinical trial," in The Lancet Psychiatry 5(6), pp. 486-497
- Muttoni, S., Ardissino, M. and John, C. (2019). "Classical psychedelics for the treatment of depression and anxiety: A systematic review," in Journal of Affective Disorders 258, pp. 11-24
- Nutt, D. (2019). "Psychedelic drugs - a new era in psychiatry?" in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 21(2), pp. 139-147
- Palhano-Fontes, F., D. Barreto, H. Onias, K. C. Andrade, M. M. Novaes, J. A. et al. (2018). "Rapid antidepressant effects of the psychedelic ayahuasca in treatment-resistant depression: a randomized placebo-controlled trial." Psychological Medicine: 1-9.
- Roseman, L., Demetriou, L., Wall, M.B., Nutt, D.J. and Carhart-Harris, R.L. (2018). "Increased amygdala responses to emotional faces after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression," in Neuropharmacology 142, pp. 263-269
- Smigielski, L., Scheidegger, M., Kometer, M. and Vollenweider, F.X. (2019). "Psilocybin-assisted mindfulness training modulates self-consciousness and brain default mode network connectivity with lasting effects," in NeuroImage 196, pp. 207-215
- Tang, S. W. and Tang, W. H. (2019). "Opportunities in Novel Psychotropic Drug Design from Natural Compounds," in Int J Neuropsychopharmacol
- Ross, S., Bossis, A., Guss, J., Agin-Liebes, G., Malone, T. and Cohen, S. E. et al. (2016). "Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial," in Journal Of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England) 30(12), pp. 1165-1180