Welcome to this week's episode of #Perspectives LIVE Today! Today my extraordinary guest is Tania de Jong, the founder and executive director of Mind Medicine Australia. Tania is listed on the 100 most influential people in psychedelics in the world for her remarkable work in a field that is maybe to some of us, a little left of centre and that is working to ensure that some psychedelics, namely psilocybin and MDMA become legalised within Australia for therapeutic purposes. This is a topic that I find truly fascinating. Mind Medicine Australia is a registered charity acting as a central node for regulatory approved and research, their work is wholly clinical. Tania became interested in the resurgence in psychedelic research field after searching for ways to manage her own mental health and wellbeing. We talk about this in the episode, she explains and walks us through her first psychedelic experience and how it transformed her with the support of her partner, Peter, she set out on a quest to have a therapeutic experience but being able to do this in a safe and legal setting, which around the world, is not that easy to accomplish, have to experiencing this life-changing experience. Now she is on a mission to help alleviate the suffering caused by mental illness in Australia that she truly believes is not necessary. In this conversation you will hear about the statistics and what has been achieved in clinical trials around the world and how these medicines, combined with therapy have been having a profound impact on people who are suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, even eating disorders. Open your mind to this conversation, its truly mind blowing. NB: this is a research-based conversation. Remi Pearson and #Perspectives in no way advocates for the use of illegal drugs. Mind Medicine Australia does not encourage or facilitate illegal use of psychedelics or plant medicine. Their focus in wholly clinical. Mind Medicine Australia: https://mindmedicineaustralia.org.au CONNECT WITH SHARON Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SharonPearsonFanPage/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharon.pearson.official/ Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonpearsontcicoach/ Website: https://www.sharonpearson.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sharon_Pearson_ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7zP_SmBHzsZG8lmInQBgHQ Resources: - Order Ultimate You Book: https://tci.rocks/order-ultimate-you · Upcoming Events at The Coaching Institute - www.thecoachinginstitute.com.au/trainings · Phone The Coaching Institute - 1800 094 927 · Feedback/Reviews/Suggest a topics be discussed - firstname.lastname@example.org Follow The Coaching Institute: Website: https://www.thecoachinginstitute.com.
“New Frontiers of Psychedelics” with Tania de Jong
[00:00:00] Hey and welcome to this week's episode of Perspectives I am your host Sharon Pearson, and we are joined today by an extraordinary guest who has done some remarkable work in a field that is maybe to some of us, a little left of center. Her name is Tania de Jong and she is the founder and executive director of Mind Medicine Australia.
And she has done some phenomenal work in moving forward, ensuring that some psychedelics and MDMA may becomes legalized within Australia for therapeutic purposes. This is a topic that I find truly fascinating, Tania is executive director and co-founder and board director of Mind Medicine Australia. And it is a registered charity acting as a central node for regulatory approved and research.
[00:01:00] Psychedelics. She is identified in the psychedelic invest top 100 influential people in psychedelics, and she became interested in the resurgence in psychedelic research field after searching for ways to manage your own mental health and her own wellbeing. And we talk about this in the episode, she explains and walks us through her first psychedelic experience and how it transformed her with the support of her partner, Peter, she set out on a quest to have a therapeutic experience, but being able to do this in a safe and legal setting, which as you probably know around the world, isn't that easy to accomplish, have to experiencing this life-changing experience.
She realized the potential of these medicines and she very clearly and distinctly calls them a medicines, not an illegal substance. And she also makes it clear here that MDMA and the psychedelics we talk about are not addictive, despite what we may have heard in the moral panic that can be attached to conversations like this.
So she's on a mission to help [00:02:00] alleviate the suffering caused by mental illness in Australia that she truly believes is not necessary. And when you hear us have this conversation and you hear about the stats and what's been achieved in clinical trials around the world, right now, there are over a hundred clinical trials taking place around the world, including at John Hopkins, one of the most renowned research facilities in the world.
And when you hear these results and we'll include in the show notes, links for you to get more information and maybe to some research as well. So you can see for yourself how profound an impact. that these medicines combined with therapy can have on people who are suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, even eating disorders.
It is, mind-blowing what I've been learning. She also is part of my Mind Medicine Australia helps to and has phenomenal facilitators, helping to train the facilitators of tomorrow, the psychiatrists and psychologists and the therapists who will, when this becomes legislated within Australia [00:03:00] guide people who want to experience a transformation from the depression or their anxiety or their PTSD, and the team is training them entire process of how you can go through this therapeutic process.
This is not an advocacy program for taking drugs. illegally is not an advocacy program for going to a rave, getting smashed and not drinking water and becoming a statistic. This is a conversation based on current research in 2021, and it is really exciting what the future holds. It's so great that you're joining us today.
Tania thank you so much. I'd love for you to share with our audience a little bit about your journey as to how you got here to having that as your backdrop, Mind Medicine Australia, if you would please. Sure. Look that's a really long story, but I mean to cut a long story short well my drug of choice has always been singing.
So I have always [00:04:00] loved singing and it's been a wonderful form of meditation relaxation. There'll be entertainment connection, so many things for me. therapy so I've never felt the need to have any drugs of any kind. And I've never, in fact, I've always been quite anti-drugs. And so it is, it is surprising that I do have this as my backdrop, but I guess to cut a long story short, you know, I'm the daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors.
My grandmother invented the foldable umbrella in Vienna in 1929. So you know, innovation is very much in my blood and I have founded two previous charities to Mind Medicine Australia, plus about six other creative businesses as well. And I've been a performer before, you know, all of, all of my sort of adult life, even though I was told, never double that having singing lessons at the age of 14 and.
But I also, I did a law [00:05:00] degree and I've always been extremely entrepreneurial. And so, you know, I sort of, I guess, become the serial entrepreneur and as I've evolved and growing I become interested in different things and there's just sort of been this yeah, I mean to where I am today, where I'm, you know, a co-founder and executive director of Mind Medicine Australia, and those still you know, I'm very passionate about my work as both a performer singer and speaker, and some of the work that I do for collective healing.
A lot of the event production work I do as well is tied in to this. So in a sense, it's bringing together a whole lot of different things that I do. But Mind Medicine Australia is, is certainly all consuming. Like it's taking a lot of time up for me and my husband. We do this pro bono and we also do, that's the question I get that you do all these other things, [00:06:00] but why that is the backdrop, that's what I'm interested in.
How did you arrive at a place where make getting, helping and facilitating the movement for psychedelics to become legal for medicine? Or how did that happen? Yeah, so that really happened because I've always been interested in hacking myself. So, you know, I've, I've tried lots and lots of different things, different diets
you know, I tantra mantra cryotherapy my therapy, you know, hyperbaric oxygen all sorts of different retreats, relationship, work personal development. And physical sort of stamina sort of modalities that I've always been really interested in. And I never heard about psychedelic assisted therapies until about five and a half years ago.
When I read a blog of Tim Ferriss, who's one of the great donors and investors in this field and he announced that he was donating a [00:07:00] hundred thousand US dollars to impure colleagues to trial of psilocybin assisted therapy to treat depression. I'm not, I don't suffer from depression myself, but I certainly know a lot of people who are suffering with depression.
I've worked with a lot of people who are suffering with depression. And so I clicked on the link was to an article by Michael Pollan in the New Yorker magazine called the Trip Treatment and I read this article and it was about, in fact, profiling, a Jewish man who was going to an end of life, probably had a terminal diagnosis, but he had been experiencing, I think, some transgenerational trauma.
And I had also. Being experiencing that I didn't really know what it was. You know, I'd have some strange dreams from time to time where maybe I was, and this was awful, you know, where I standing in front of a Nazi firing squad and things like that. And I'm thinking, well, where is this coming from? You know, this is, [00:08:00] I wasn't there for that.
And so I felt that there was, you know, parts of my psyche, I guess, that were still carrying some of this ancestral trauma. And so when I read, you know, about this guy's sort of remission conditions and things, I thought, all this sounds amazing, you know, like amazing. And so I said to my husband read this article, I think we should, don't do this treatment.
Hey, read it. And he said, oh, you know, it sounds interesting, but he didn't take any more interested in it, but he said, well, if you want to organize it, just go ahead. And he generally does say that about a lot of things. And so I then reached out to Dr. Robin Carhart Harris. Who's one of the leading researchers in this field who was mentioned in the article and asked him if there were any healthy patients trials that we could participate in because we don't have a mental illness diagnosis, but there weren't any taking place in the, in, in Europe at the time.
And so we were eventually referred to a [00:09:00] guide in the Netherlands and we then flew to the Netherlands where we worked with that guide and had a massive medicinal dose of psilocybin yeah, I've been pure psilocybin, which was preceded by Syrian Rue, which is a MAOI inhibitor. So the protocol was called silhouette, Cisco, which was a combination really of psilocybin and some of the effective well scope because of the Mio inhibitor Syrian ruined.
This was. A huge experience. Like we were literally shot out of our bodies into other dimensions, into the multi-verse you know, journeys, this journey that we went on. And of course our journeys were entirely different. Peter's his father had committed suicide when he was thirteen also. So, wow. You know, we all carry trauma either directly or indirectly.
I think we're all carrying a lot of angst and grief along with us. And particularly now I've never felt so much [00:10:00] that way, carrying as a, as a collective and disconnected and huge disconnection and, you know, wonderful thing about these medicines is the enormous sense of connectivity that they bring, you know, the sense of being connected to yourself, to others, to the planet.
I really is very profound and the healing that waits. Was enormous. And it's not that we were really ill or that we weren't not functioning or anything like that, but we became much better functioning. You know, I thought I was creative before, but you know, like I've been able to join the dots and understand things that I previously was not able to understand as well.
Yeah, it's, it's really a profound effect. And it's improved our relationship, enormously, our relationships without families colleagues I think we've become, you know, more grounded more authentic is less ego in the way because I experienced and we both experienced like [00:11:00] play ego dissolution.
So if I may, what that was like was when I taken the medicine. And I deliberately call these medicines cause that's what they are. These are ancient medicines. You know, they've been with humans since beginning of civilization and you can see the history of these medicines in ancient, Greek, and Roman cultures in the archeology.
You can see the mushrooms and things like that. Ancient drinks like Kiki on that were taken to alter people, states to, to take them into these, these little ordinary states and. They've been in indigenous cultures since the very beginning. And they still are, of course being used in indigenous cultures completely legally in Mexico, south America.
I mean, these medicines are illegal in the Netherlands and no range of other places. It just seems so ridiculous to me that, you know, you can go out into your garden or a field, and there's all these [00:12:00] psilocybin mushrooms, which contain the mind altering substance. And yet if you eat that mushroom, if you pick it and eat that mushroom, then that's, you know, it could end up with you being prosecuted and put in jail or whatever completely ridiculous when you actually go into your garden and pick a poisonous mushroom and eat it and die.
Whereas you could eat these mushrooms and completely be healed of many of, you know, the things that we're struggling with in suffering within this human Carnation that went, that we're in. So yeah, it was, it was Extremely profound experience. We came out of it saying that not only was it incredible for us, but that will set up for charities between us before Mind Medicine Australia.
And both of us just said, well, you know, you can provide housing. You know, my husband's a [00:13:00] founder of women's community shelters I'm the founder of the Song Room and Creativity Australia, and that with One Voice program to provide creative programs, wonderful social inclusion applies, you know, you can provide all these things to people who are suffering disadvantage of some kind or another, whether it's homelessness, unemployment, disability, whatever it is to be, you know, feeling older and more isolated.
But the fact is if a person has a mental illness, Of some kind that there's some sense of anxious, depression, whatever it happens to be trauma that they carrying along with them. If you cannot get to the root of that trauma, it doesn't matter what else you give them, because actually they're not going to feel better and they're not going to be able to lead a fully meaningful and contributing life.
And imagine if that's a gift that we can give to people that they can feel, you know, connected and, and more whole more of themselves. If that's a gift [00:14:00] we can give people, then we should give that to people. And we shouldn't withhold it from particularly from people who are suffering. But of course we shouldn't withhold it from anyone because it's our birthright.
These plants are on this planet for a reason. They are a medicine they contribute to our wellbeing, our sense of wholeness, oneness unity with, you know, self and others. I mean, how could we deny people the experience. Traveling into altered dimensions and experiencing the 95% of life that we actually don't say on the daily basis, we started really, after that first experience, meeting a load of the researchers reading a lot of the trials that were going on and familiarizing ourselves with the space.
Then we started going to conferences and events around the world. A year later, we did another ceremony experience, I guess, with the same guide and it was even more profound. And then we were just completely [00:15:00] convinced. We were just like, well, everyone needs to have access to these medicines who needs access to them.
And we also looked at what was not going on in Australia. Really. There was very little going on in Australia. There were, you know, an amateur psychedelic society. And that sort of thing, but there was, you know, a tiny handful of researchers who were interested in this space, but there was really nothing.
We had nothing to offer. We were acting in Australia, like it was 1970 and Nixon had just declared war on drugs. I was thinking in Australia for so long. Yeah. It's out of date by 50 years. So, and now there is research in Australia because the thinking around this is come full circle. So thank you. I'd love to just add a little disclaimer here.
I have a little caveat for anyone listening, who perhaps is still perhaps thinking the way I used to think, Tania so this is for anybody who's thinking [00:16:00] like I used to think this is not us advocating, taking any drug. However you want. We are not advocating use of drugs that you buy off the street. We're not suggesting that we be irresponsible with what we have in your conversation about.
Is using psychedelics something like perhaps MDMI, which is a different category of therapeutic medicine or a psychedelic like psilocybin for therapeutic purposes to help in the healing process. Ideally with a trained therapist, who's trained in how to guide you through a really extensive process, because I've now watched the movie.
You, you had on that around the Israel study that was done, and I'm familiar with a number of the protocols now and how to help someone resolve trauma and the kind of stats these results are producing. So I invite you if you're an audience member thinking I never want my kids to do drugs. We are not advocating your kids do drugs.
I mean, I think it's important also to say to everyone who watches listens to this [00:17:00] is that everything is about the context. Everything is about the context in which a medicine or drug is used. So, you know, morphine, which is. Used often in the hospital, but you know, if you take it recreational it's, it's no good heroin on the street is no good, but it's using the anesthetics when you go and have an operation in the hospital.
So everything is about your intention and how you use that medicine in an intentional way for healing or whether you're using it just to get off your face because you can't deal with your trauma. It's leading you to become an addict, an addict in something else. It's important though, to say that these medicines are extremely safe and non-addictive even in recreational environments, they considered to MDMA particularly and psilocybin in their pure GMP pay grade form are considered extremely safe in recreational environments
[00:18:00] whereas alcohol is by far the most dangerous drug to self and others. And that's been proven in multiple trials and studies around the world. So. We are talking about medicines that when used intentionally under the guidance of, you know, a supervise guide or therapist can truly transform your perspective on life and certainly create enormous healing for a range of conditions, not only including depression and anxiety and trauma, but are now being trialed for addiction.
And they, the, the results for treating addiction the results are incredible yeah. End of life, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia and eating disorders. Alzheimer's now cluster headaches and of course, PTSD and so we're seeing these medicines now being trialed for. An enormous variety of conditions.
And my [00:19:00] belief is that they will be trialed for even a broader group of conditions as time goes on, because the way that they reconnect brains on neural pathways is so significant that that, and that sense of connectivity is so important to a person's healing. And really these medicines help to empower us, to become agents for our own healing, rather than taking daily pills or relying on a psychotherapist for the rest of our lives.
And this is nothing against the wonderful psychotherapies that are there. It's simply saying that there are treatments and with two to three medicinal treatments combined with a short course of psychotherapy, 60 to 80% of patients across 160 recent trials are going to remission. Now you compare that again.
30 to 35% remission rates from current treatments for depression, or just 5% remission rates for [00:20:00] post-traumatic stress disorder. And it comes back and if they suspend treatment, it returns. Yeah. And let alone all the side effects and the withdrawal comes through these medications and so on. So in this case, we're saying that mental illness does not have to bail.
I said that there is a cure for many patients available, not for all. This is not a panacea for all. And nor are we saying that current existing treatments don't work for some patients, they do. They just don't work for the majority of patients. And we have a mental health crisis. And this is one of the reasons why Peter and I, as philanthropists and social entrepreneurs are putting all our money and time, energy into these, because the impact.
It's enormous. The potential impact is huge. Like Mind Medicine Australia, and other organizations, like it, have the potential to change and save the lives of millions of people yeah, who was suffering - there is 1 million [00:21:00] soldiers in the us, struggling with PTSD as we speak and traditional old school therapies are not resolving it, but the results they're having five years later, 53 to 50%, 7% of them have cannot any longer be classed as having PTSD.
Yeah. In the recent phase three trial of MAPS with both veterans, first responders and also others suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder straight after just three medicinal doses of MDMA with a short course of psychotherapy. 67% of those patients have gone into remission. And it's expected that as they integrate the experience, it's important to say psychedelic assisted psychotherapy means the medicine, the psychedelic with the psychotherapy, the medicine on its own.
It's not going to be fully effective. Anyone out there. I just say that as a word of caution, that you need to do a proper integration process because the insights that [00:22:00] you will experience using these medicines are profound, but to capture them and bring them into your lives, your relationship, relationships, your work, whatever you need to bring them into all elements of your life takes integration.
It takes work with a therapist to bring those learnings in and to then make the changes that you need to make in your life that are going to relieve some of the suffering and, and help you to experience what is really here, this beautiful life that we've been gifted by our parents. It's just such a gift.
And it's, it's a terrible tragedy that most people can experience, I guess. That you know, and this is really, really the reason why we set up Mind Medicine in Australia is because we have this mental health epidemic in Australia and globally that is, is just getting worse and worse. You know, pre COVID in Australia alone.
We had one in five Australians with a mental illness, one [00:23:00] in age being prescribed antidepressants, but one in four older adults and one in 30 children, as young as four. Now that is a terrible indictment. You know, we are over prescribing these medications more than just about any other OECD patient. And furthermore, you know, what we're seeing is that, you know, these statistics suggest that one in two of us will suffer a mental illness in our lifetimes.
And we can't continue to overmedicate people in the way. Is occurring at the moment. Well, the medication is suppressing a symptom, whereas the therapies that are now on, in studies around the world, a lot of studies in the world are dealing with the core of it and resolving the core issue. So the symptoms will, I'm no longer required.
There's one story I heard about, I think I'm going to attribute it to Rick Doblin, who is one of the major leaders in the world in this research. I know you have a relationship with him. I think [00:24:00] it was him. I'll give him credit for it. My apologies if it isn't him, whoever that is. And he said one of the first experiences of it was a soldier who experienced PTSD and had for years, 17 years, I think it was.
And he held onto the PTSD. He realized this when he was taken through the therapeutic process and on his very first trip, I think it was MDMA but I can't remember if it was psilocybin he came to realize that he was staying in stress to honor his dead comrades. I'm going to get emotional.
And only in that very first trip, you mean the requirement is you have therapy, then you have a trip, some therapy trip therapy, trip, some therapy at the end. So it's three trips with therapy back-to-back he did the pre therapy, did this one trip and realized the only reason he held onto his honor is dead comrades Chrome rights.
As a result of the psilocybin, he became his dead comrades and saw his life through their eyes. And in the moment of seeing his life through their eyes, he realized they'd never want [00:25:00] that for him. He dropped out of that very first study and years later, any symptoms of PTSD are completely resolved and now he works assisted.
People experiencing trauma. And that's just to correct you by the way. I think that person who is MDMA therapy, not psilocybin thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Assisted therapy is the one that's used for post-traumatic stress disorder, psilocybin therapy therapies used for depression and development as well, so perfect.
And they were able to drop out of the study. And so I don't need, there is the trips aren't needed the therapy and they've had years of therapy and putting aside whatever issues we have around this, let's pause and take in this. What looks like in any other category, if it wasn't criminalized, we would consider miraculous and worth pursuing with all our might
the world would be transformed if it was doing this for anything else that had [00:26:00] illegal substance around. Totally. That is a transformation. Their life is changed and saved because of this. Let's pause and think, well, maybe we need to change our views of it. Our preconceptions that come from the 1970s or late sixties and realize what's shifted in the world now, which I love.
I love the shift. Well, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. And you know, if you think about it, that the existing treatments, most of them are based on science that is over 50 years old. I mean, in what other field of medicine are we so stuck in the past and why are we running towards these treatments? You know, so the Brigadier general of the veterans in, in the U S said, you know, based on the data and facts, we should be running towards these trends.
If this could even save a handful of lives, but it can save literally. Millions of lives. So why aren't we doing that? I think it's turning now. So let's just take a moment and talk. It was [00:27:00] really bad in the sixties. So one of the lines, I think Rick said, but again, I think I'm giving him a bit too much credit.
I think it was Griffiths said in the 1960. So it was used in a lot of clinical trials back then, as you know, Tania it escaped over the laboratory wall and made it out into the counterculture and the counterculture getting hold of it meant that the, all the negative stories in the myths began to be produced around the world.
That's how we heard these stories about if you took it, you would stare at the sun until you went blind. It's a complete myth and a lie that was created to create fear amongst it, which forced it way underground for way too long. But we're talking today because that landscape is no longer the landscape we find ourselves in.
Absolutely. And, you know, it's interesting. So even though I didn't know what psyilocibin was, and I didn't even really know what psychedelics were, to be honest. When I did this, there was still, obviously some of those messages that stigma was flying away because I wasn't even aware that I had it, but I was like, am I going to go crazy?
Am I going to have a heart attack? Is, you [00:28:00] know, so they, you know, they sort of, these myths are very strong. And so one of the really important roles of mine medicine Australia is to actually dispel those myths and to focus on the science and the data. Because when we focus on the funds and data, it's absolutely clear, like, you know, the risks attached to these medicines are actually extremely low.
There has not been a single adverse event with thousands of patients. Who've undergone either psilocybin or MDMA sister therapy. Over 160 trials, you know, no one has become a drug addict before because of them. In fact, many drug addicts and smoking addict addicts smokers have, have actually been able to like their addictions have gone because of these treatments.
So yeah, it's, it's really yeah, it's amazing how we, we sort of turned things upside down didn't we, you know, so that alcohol was not made criminal cigarettes were not made criminal [00:29:00] and cocaine and meth amphetamines and all these really dangerous drugs, you know, the people can access very easily and yet yeah.
But yes, what is really great is we are seeng this Renaissance now and. It's brand has brain rejuvenated, Tanya. So leading the way, just so we can get some facts out there for people listening. Who've never heard about this Renaissance. That's been going on. John Hopkins has been conducting studies for a while.
Now. NYU is conducting studies. Studies have now begun in Australia. There's millions of dollars of funding. It's not a lot, but some, but one of the stories I found most interesting was Tim Ferriss was talking last year in 2020, as result of a a citizen philanthropy, there is $30 million in private funds to pursue clinical trial stage three trials.
In the effectiveness of psychedelics in therapeutic settings that tells me the tide has [00:30:00] turned on this conversation finally, to enable people who need the help, who are suitable for these types of therapies can get the help. And just to be very conservative, there is complete recognition. Not everybody is suited to this.
There are some personality types and some, I think it's remind me, what is it not suited for? So, so at the moment, schizophrenia and bipolar excluded those with incidences of psychosis, but many of the psychiatrists actually believe that over time, as you know, these medicines are studied further, those conditions also be able to be treated.
And I do know instances of people who. have been So because they haven't been accepted into the trials because of those conditions have gone underground where they, the borderline of bipolar and other conditions and have actually healed as well. But at the moment they're excluded from the trials and, you know, at time it will just take time.
And the more that we invest in you know, research in this space, [00:31:00] but also the more that actual access is granted, so that we can click data as people go through treatments. And that's one of the things we've really fast-tracked in Australia is that these treatments are currently available through special access scheme pathways.
And what that means is that a doctoral psychiatrist. You know, it can work with a treatment resistant patients. So a patient who's tried two or more other treatments that haven't worked and who is very ill and potentially could be suicidal, but certainly is very ill. And the doctor and psychiatrist applies to the TJR regulator to treat that patient with either psilocybin or MDMA assisted therapy.
And the TGA has been granting those treatments. In fact, I don't believe they've knocked any back since last June, so that's a federal approval, but then the doctor then needs to get an approval in the state to treat the patient. And in some states there are still these recreational use laws that prevent the [00:32:00] medicines from being brought in because they're seen as drugs instead of medicines.
So what we need to make sure occurs is that there's a national standardization, a permit system put in place in every state of Australia. That means that doctors can. Bring those medicines in to treat patients in clinical environments, that's completely different to a recreational use setting. And so, you know, again, this comes down to context and unfortunately the states are not making this distinction between the use of the medicine in a medical environment to treat a patient who's really unwell and potentially save their life versus someone who's going underground to access
you know, they drugs what's the resistance around it. Given it's moved so far forward in the United States. So in the United States, the FDA has last year declared it for breakthrough status, which means it's a breakthrough. Which is a breakthrough [00:33:00] medicine. And what that means is they give approval to fast-track the different stages of clinical trials that need to occur.
So we can start helping people as soon as possible Australia, I, to, to medicine that that could be vastly superior to existing treatments. It's a very good nation. Yes it is. And where are we in Australia? Yeah, so we have the SASB approvals taking place trickling through, but yeah, yeah. We need to get through some of the state barriers, which we're working on, but also in Australia, we've put in submissions for the rescheduling of both MTMA and psilocybin from schedule nine, which is prohibited medicine, which implies it's dangerous and of no benefit, which is completely wrong and is simply based on the politicization of president Nixon in 1970.
Yeah. Two schedule eight schedule eight meaning controlled medicines. So that means the medicine would be used in clinical environments under the supervision of trained practitioners. And that's where this medicine [00:34:00] should be sitting if not schedule four. So in Australia, we have a number of medicines and schedule a and schedule four, which are far more dangerous than either psilocybin or MDMA and schedule four schedule four is a more, slightly more accessible, still controlled, but slightly more accessible.
But we have medicines like ibogaine, which is used to treat very heavy drug addicts. It's a psychedelic medicine also, but it's far, far more, you know, No potential far more significant effects on the heart and so on. Whereas psilocybin and MDMA do not, as I said before, there's been no adverse events with their use whatsoever.
And you know, they continually come up in files, like for example, these a recent trial that has been undertaken in pure college directly comparing an SSRI, an antidepressant with psilocybin [00:35:00] assisted therapy. And in that trial the 60 patients were either given two doses of psilocybin with psychotherapy or a daily dose of a esetelgram which is an antidepressant.
And at the end of the trial twice, So twice as many of the patients in the psilocybin group went into remission, as that is to tell a prime group, they also had less side effects and less suicidal ideation. So what we're seeing is that in every single trial, these treatments are showing themselves as to be far more effective and actually safer than existing treatments because yeah, and again, they don't treat the symptoms, they treat the core.
It's a long-term resolution, not a suppression. Correct? Correct. And this is all about curative medicines, not just palliative medicine, about, you know, finding a cure so that person can then, you know, become fully aware of what has been their trauma or their challenge. And they can get through it [00:36:00] themselves.
Just coming in, obviously with competent therapists is extremely important. It is important to note that a lot of the existing treatments do have negative effects for a lot of people, they can lead to suicidality in some patients and their side effects significant as, as many of us will know. And also it's, it's a known fact that it's extremely difficult to withdraw from antidepressants if you've been on them for, for awhile, and that can create its own problems.
So we need to be very careful. And Mind Medicine Australia says, you know, we say six days. As expanding the treatment options available to medical practitioners and their patients ensuring that these treatments become a first-line option. So that if you go to your medical practitioner, they will discuss a range of statements with you disclosing full risks and benefits.
One thing we hear about often is that doctors don't fully disclose the, the side effects of antidepressants to their [00:37:00] patients, and that should be happening. You know, we should have full disclosure to all patients, and then it becomes a decision for the doctor and patient as to what's going to be the most effective and safe treatment for that patient on a case by case basis.
It's not just this broad brush stroke that everyone who comes in, you know, who's feeling a little bit sad, just gets given an antidepressant script and, you know, success for us. We'll look at, look like first-line treatments. Secondly, that the remission rates are very high. And continue to be very high and that the right treatment protocols are put in place for all patients.
And finally that these treatments are accessible and available to all Australians, no matter where they're based, their financial circumstances. So a big part of our focus is setting up this ticket in psychedelic assisted therapies. And we've had our first cohort go through [00:38:00] 46 psychiatrists, psychologists, GPS, physicians, therapists, mental health nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, counselors.
And so they've already gone through and many of them have rated the course as the model. Life-changing and important course and the most brilliant training they've ever undertaken. We have a world-class faculty and as our second intake commences, and a couple of weeks and is nearly full. And then we have probably up to four intakes in 2022.
The demand is huge. And so this is preparation for what's coming because you anticipate the laws are going to need to start keeping up with all the other research around the world. The research now is reasonably your refutable it's trials have been complete. The stats are in, we can't argue with these ridiculously successful.
Absolutely. But also a lot of these therapists are able to start working with patients now, so they can do, you know, they can help prepare patients who are [00:39:00] going underground because it's not illegal to do that. They can provide integration to patients. Who've used the medicine. They could work on trials and they can work with their patients who are getting SASB special access scheme approvals.
So in actual fact, the therapists who are being trained and getting the qualification now the front run is in this space and they're the therapists who will gain first access also to be part of, you know, some of the trials and, and other pathways that become available. And St Vincent's has started its own trial.
I think last year is that right? They've done. They have some funding for a trial. So we part funded a trial at St. Vincent's, which is for end of life anxiety and stress caused by a terminal diagnosis. That's going through about 30 patients. It's similar to some trials that have been conducted overseas at New York university.
And. Johns Hopkins. And [00:40:00] the interesting thing is that the one at New York university, which I mentioned before, which was an inspiration for me in terms of actually trying to spice it up was what was really interesting about that trial was that 80% of the patients went into remission immediately from the end of life, stress and anxiety, and were able to, you know, it continued.
But what is remarkable is that after four and a half years, the researchers went back to those patients. And not only were the majority of them still alive, but all of them were still in remission who was still alive. Wow. That's a whole other study. That's a whole different study. That's got to be done.
That's staggering. I didn't know that. That's right. Yeah. My mind is blown. That's incredible. We probably should've done this sooner. Would you mind touching base for our audience members? The difference between MDMA whose full name? I cannot pronounce, no matter how much I researched. And let's just talk about psilocybin, which is an [00:41:00] element of magic mushrooms.
Can you just share the difference basically between the two? Yeah, so MDMA is known as a empathogen. So basically what he does is it's actually not a traditional psychedelics. So what it does is when you have the MDMA you feel very warm and loving and connected, and unfortunately MDMA has been very vilified because it's been used a lot as a party drug people at music, festivals and so on, but.
Young people are getting when they think they're getting MDMA is an adult rated substance. In fact, in a lot of the capsules that people think is MDMA there's other substances and sometimes is no MDMA whatsoever, which is what leads to those headlines, further drug deaths from MDMA which is unfortunately not what's actually happening.
And it's also known for the audience. If they haven't heard MDMA ecstasy or Molly, that's the straight kind of name for it. Yeah. [00:42:00] Fortunately ecstasy and Molly have go a bad name because making it at music festivals at rave parties and so on in combination with other substances often with dehydration kids staying up all night and that can lead to really bad effects.
But MDMA and it's pure GM P pharmceutical grade. Substance that's used as a medicine and a medically controlled environment creates enormous empathy and trust and safety for the patient, where they are able to talk about their trauma with the therapist in a very safe and loving environment. And what the MDME does is it reduces the activity of their Mikela, which often triggers a fight or flight response.
So when a therapist normally gets you to talk about your trauma, that can re trigger a re traumatize, you, which can make you worse in effect, you know, I'm sure we've all spoken to people. Who've suffered with trauma at one time or another way we try to talk about the trauma and they either [00:43:00] burst into floods of tears.
race out of the room can become very emotional and it can become very problematic. But what happens with this is the patient's able to talk about their trauma. They're able to accept what has happened and to move forward with their lives. And be healed. And, you know, in the case of the phase two trials with MAPS it 105 patients, all of whom had been suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder for an average of 18 years, just three medicinal treatments.
With a short course of psychotherapy, 52% of them went into remission immediately, but 67% after 12 months with full integration. So you can imagine the suffering that they had experienced, then the remission that they achieved. And that's what it, those 5% from existing treatments, how can we not give that gift to people?
You know, it's, it's extraordinary. So MDMA provides an incredible therapeutic [00:44:00] window in which competent therapists can work with a patient. I'll just mentioned to the audience for MAPS the multidisciplinary association for psychedelic studies. Yes. And then psilocybin is the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms.
It is a traditional psychedelic medicine that has been with humanity since the beginning of human civilization. And what it does in the brain is it's, it helps to bypass. What's called the default mode network of our brain. The default mode network of our brain keeps us stuck in very rigid stuck thought loops, particularly with suffering from depression or anxiety or some form of trauma.
You know, I'm not good enough things weren't work out for me. My life is rubbish. No one loves me and I actually share, and I will provide a video that you might like to attach with. Interview [00:45:00] that people can watch that gives some further, further guidance, but the wonderful philosophic is that it it really can expand to what's known as our five T H two-way receptor, which is a serotonin receptor in our brain.
And the psilocybin floats beautifully into that receptor and it creates this therapeutic window. So that in effect, what happens is when you take the psilocybin, the default mode network of your brain is sorta goes to sleep and you get the sense of incredible neural connectivity. And I'll provide you with some scans of FMR.
I. Yeah, good scans down on some patients with depression that show in the placebo. So for patient with depression, they have very limited neural connectivity. You know, these rigid, stuck thought loops, but with the ingestion of the psilocybin, they experienced this massive neurogenesis, this neural [00:46:00] connectivity where different hemispheres of their brain start reconnecting, they experience increased neuroplasticity, and that allows this connectivity, this sense of oneness to take place.
And again, creates a therapeutic window where a competent therapist can work with that patient post the treatment because the patient in the silicide and experience, isn't an entirely altered state. They will usually experience some form of ego dissolution. Yes. And it will no longer be Tania or Sharon.
It'll be one. Yes. You're part of everything. Everything feels part of you. It's a wonderful, wonderful feeling. And from that experience, you can then start to come to terms with some of the things that are holding that. Yeah. So in my case, would that look like was I traveled completely out of my body. I actually saw these three boxes that had the word ego in them with a red cross for them.
And I kept [00:47:00] saying ego, I please get out of my way, get out of my, go down the drain. And actually below is three boxes where drains, they sewage look like sewage pipes or drains. And I kept trying to push my ego down the drain. That was what symbolism was of what I was saying. Once I had pushed my ego down the drain, I was then able to journey further with my experience where I just became one with everything and everything became a part of me.
And if you have the right. dosage of each of the medicine, which you will always have in a medically controlled environment, then you will hopefully inevitably experience that. Now with some people that may take time, you know, if a person has been on antidepressants for a number of years or decades, it may take more experiences with the psilocybin, for to get a breakthrough like that.
So it's arguable that some patients are gonna need more than two or three medicinal doses of these medicines. [00:48:00] And only time will tell, you know, as we do more research and work out more of the protocols for treatment, I think it will become obvious what different patients are going to need in terms of those in terms of support, in terms of how many doses
and so on one of the ways Sam Harris describes it is he strived for years to have that experience through meditation and taking it was MDMA helped him experience what the whole experience could be with meditation, which he now says he experiences through meditation. So it's almost like you get to the end point also.
That's what it feels like to be fully the one. And then now he meditates to that to knowing that reality, he actually did his first psilocybin experience. I think at the end of last year, you should go and have a look at it and you might want to share it with, I did watch that. I thought it was fascinating.
He did MDMA years ago in psilocybin last year and his friend instructed him. I won't actually talk about the instructions. Y'all watch the we'll [00:49:00] listen to the audio cause he has a great disclaimer and I think that's important. The other thing I think that's with touching on is if we keep holding onto 1970s attitudes around this and bring 1970s attitudes to it, I want caution and I want clinical studies and I know you support, let's do it in a very methodological way.
That's exactly how to do it. But any moral panic around this to me is looking really fuddy-duddy should this absolutely especially, well, for two reasons, one of them is that firstly, these medicines and particularly the mushrooms and some of the other psychedelic plant medicines are readily available.
And so, you know, the people suggest that, you know we should somehow withhold these from people is actually very short-sighted because what will happen is, and what is happening now is that the longer that these medicines take to be above ground and in medically controlled environments, the more people will go to [00:50:00] the underground and take risks to get better because people will do anything.
So, you know, like we only get one life, one short line, these medicines really reiterate that well in this incarnation anyway, you know, so the fact of the matter is if people are really sick and they've been suffering for years and decades, they are going to do. And as, as there's more many media articles about these treatments, they'll just go and find the treatments.
Now, there are many underground practitioners who are outstanding and hopefully they'll find them, but there's as inevitably happens in any sector that is taking off they'll also be Cowboys that come in and who will put up their shingles and who will put themselves out there as psychedelic assisted therapists who don't have the experience either with dosing or holding the space or integrating patients properly.
And then there could be adverse events that do occur. [00:51:00] So we need to accelerate access to these treatments as fast as we can. It's just imperative that you know, we do that now. And of course, you know, there's plenty of space to continue research in this space. At the same time, the two are not mutually exclusive.
We can provide access and start training all these veterans and first responders and others, our brothers, our sisters, our mothers, our fathers, our employees who will also many of whom are suffering. Especially in these, you know, coming out of post COVID world where we're seeing the terrible harms that have been done, especially to children and young people and older people as well.
Who've been. And we need to provide solutions. The elephant in the room is the lack of treatment innovation for over five decades. That is what we need to be talking about. Not about more tele health, not about training more psychiatrists and psychologists or more antidepressants. It can't be just more and more antidepressants when the success rate is so low and [00:52:00] placebos often perform nearly as well.
If not as well, when there is an urgency. Well, I would I mental health crisis beginning. So, you know, so yeah, so we need to get away from these attitudes of 50 years ago, you know, it's, it's 2021 right? Well, there hasn't really been a breakthrough in mental health since 1980s and nineties when antidepressants hit the market really full force.
So if you haven't had a transformation in that entire sector, yet mental health is getting worse and worse and worse. Surely if we have a potential pathway and again, it's not a panacea, we're not saying it is for everyone. It's not suited to everyone. It needs to be done under controlled conditions with a very well-trained expert guide with all those caveats, it becomes a point.
I think it was just a political football, right. And, you know, and, and it's great to say the Australian government actually you know, supporting files. And in fact, you know, the 15 million that the Australian government has announced [00:53:00] is actually larger than any other government in the world has actually announced.
That's fantastic. We're out of the fuddy duddy category. If you look at it now, Sharon in Australia actually. The potential to lead in this space, the latest in this space, we've got fantastic scientists. We have amazing researchers, amazing medical doctors who really care about their patients and want to get them well.
And I should also say that there's a massive market opportunity for Australia. You know, the market is in valued. Like it's, it's like some estimates are as high as $200 billion marketplace for psychedelic medicines over the next few years. And we're seeing startups sitting up every, you know, almost every two weeks since Peter and I started Mind Medicine
so there's one of the challenges though that you can't patent the MDMA stretch all the psilocybin structure so startups are coming in so [00:54:00] big pharma isn't necessarily. Yeah, it's going to be funding it, which is why there's so many individuals who are funding it right now to make a difference in the world.
They're literally doing it as a charitable donation. Yeah. Yeah. Well, we certainly do that, but there's also startups. Commercial startups will pro profit startups around the world. Probably more than 50 now, who are listed on various stock exchanges who are investing in reinventing the molecules, manufacturing, new medicines, rollout of clinics and so on.
So there will be for-profit models where people will make a lot of money, but we say it's really important to do then ethical way. And, and we hope that the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors can work effectively together to make sure that these medicines don't get priced out of, you know, out of the market.
I mean, so that, you know, anyone can get access to them, not just wealthy people, cause that would be a travesty. Thank you so much tenure. I really appreciate it. I find this conversation truly fascinating. I do follow what you do. I have attended the [00:55:00] videos that you've been sharing, the the study out of Israel.
I watched that and I was really interested in it. Congratulations. The other thing that I was thinking is I might be able to send you some of my, I've got some beautiful songs and recordings on my record albums. Some of which have been informed by. You know, my experiences with the medicines and some of the insights that I've received.
And so I'd love to share them with you anyway. That'd be great. Thank you. That's really kind of, you send through the links because I think that to be informed is to stop moral panic, to be informed is to understand how we can support people who are suffering unnecessarily. So anything that we can do to access the information that's going to decode our brains from 1970s, thinking to where the current research is, which has a lot of credibility.
A lot of legitimacy in the world is the political groundswell is going to shift the attitude towards it is going to shift until I believe in our lifetime. It is shifting. I mean, this is inevitable, like within the native cities, [00:56:00] yes. Medicines will become much more readily available. Not only I think, will they be available in the middle?
Yeah. Environments, but over time, they'll become available to those who are seeking personal development, creative development, Tania lovely connecting with you. I really appreciate your time. Where can people find out more about what you do and the movement, if they just want to start paying attention to this as what's coming in the future?
Absolutely. So, you know, we'd love you to look at our website, mind medicine, australia.org. We are a registered charity, so please if you can donate small and large donations all make a huge difference in the mission to make these medicines available. And to heal the suffering that's occurring. Yeah.
So please support us. Look at our learn section on our website. Join our chapters. We have 30 chapters around Australia, New Zealand attend our events. We have lots of free webinars. We have a global summit in November. Register if [00:57:00] you're a therapist registered for the certificate in psychedelic therapies just get involved.
Reach out. We also have volunteering opportunities and we also do advertise, you know, we're expanding a team. So we have some wonderful jobs coming up. Fantastic. Congratulations on how far it's come. They were looking for a general manager at the moment, so, wow. Okay. Good plug. I love it. Fantastic. All right.
Well, I recommended I follow you and your work and I've, as I said, attended a couple of your classes. I think it's fascinating work and it's unbelievably important and significant. So thank you so much for your time Tania I really appreciate. Thank you, Sharon. Fascinating talking with you and I'm thankful.
That'd be great. Thanks so much. Thank you.