New research to look into potential medicinal value of Australia's "magic" mushrooms

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 30, 2021
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SYDNEY, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- A group of scientists in a Brisbane-based lab have begun a pioneering research into Australia's native psilocybin "magic" mushrooms and their potential medicinal and therapeutic properties.

University of Queensland mycologist Dr. Alistair McTaggart, the first person to receive approval to collect and catalogue psilocybin mushrooms in Australia, told Xinhua he was excited to uncover everything that Australia's diverse range of magic mushroom species have to offer.

"There are all sorts of directions the research can go. It's blossoming. We are about to be on the cusp of a lot of potential," McTaggart told Xinhua.

Magic mushrooms have shown potential to treat severe depression, substance addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder and the fear experienced at the end of terminally ill people's lives.

McTaggart said his research is designed to create a catalogue of native magic mushrooms along with their genetic properties so they can easily be transitioned to medical use.

"When we get to the point, we can definitely start treating humans, and we will have a catalogue ready."

McTaggart said while it is estimated "there are up to 20 species of magic mushrooms" in Australia, he hopes to uncover more species over the course of his research.

"We expect to discover new species as we start to tease out how the population of psilocybe subaeruginosa (Australia and New Zealand's native psychedelic mushroom) is structured in Australia. Many Australian macrofungi await discovery and description."

Dr. Stephen Bright, a clinical psychologist and researcher involved in the project, told Xinhua their goal is to develop treatment methods within Australia that avoid restrictions from international patents.

"There is a race to the bottom to patent psilocybin; Australia could avoid getting caught up in that if Australia could develop its own psilocybin over the next five to 10 years," said Bright.

"Patenting will make these treatments inaccessible to the people who need them the most."

He also said it is important to keep indigenous Australians involved, who have been using magic mushrooms for thousands of years, at every stage of development.

"I sincerely hope that this research will result in collaboration between multi-disciplinary Australian scientists, clinicians and the Indigenous community." Enditem

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