Magic mushrooms (Image: Adobe)

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) won't allow magic mushrooms and MDMA to be used as treatments for mental illnesses in a decision that's been criticised by advocates and psychiatrists as evidence of Australia's deep-rooted conservatism around drug policy.

In an interim decision published last week, the regulator refused to reschedule psilocybin (the ingredient in magic mushrooms) and MDMA (aka ecstasy or pingers) as controlled medical substances, a classification which would allow doctors to more easily prescribe them for treatment.

The TGA will hand down its final decision in April, and by then Mind Medicine Australia (MMA), the group behind the push to get psychedelics rescheduled, hopes to have changed the regulator's mind. While that might not be likely, the fact it's being considered is a sign of slowly shifting attitudes to their use.