Medicinal Psychedelics Research Network (MPRN)

The Medicinal Psychedelics Research Network (MPRN) brings together multidisciplinary researchers, policymakers and regulators to focus on the emerging field of medicinal psychedelics.

Background

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.

MPRN aims

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

Events

June 2019

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.

Event recordings

Other presentations from the day will be available soon.

People

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.

Contacts

Dr Daniel Perkins
Email: d.perkins@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Violeta Schubert
Email: violetas@unimelb.edu.au

Assoc. Professor Jerome Sarris
Email: jsarris@unimelb.edu.au

Research and resources

Recent research

A range of additional research will be added shortly.