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Nature’s most iconic mushroom
With its striking scarlet cap adorned by white spots, Amanita muscaria is arguably the most iconic figure in the world of mushrooms (thank you Super Mario 🍄). Beyond its captivating appearance, this fascinating fungus holds secrets that have captivated scientists, explorers, and wellness seekers alike.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this mushroom and what to expect if you take it. From its composition and psychoactive properties to its potential therapeutic benefits, join us as we unravel the allure of the Amanita muscaria and explore its intriguing effects on both mind and body.
What is amanita muscaria?
Also known as the fly agaric mushroom, amanita muscaria is a species of poisonous mushroom that is famous for its psychoactive properties. A. muscaria is easily recognized by its distinct appearance, featuring a bright red to orange cap covered in white or yellowish warts, and is an common image in psychedelic art.
The main compounds that are responsible for the mushroom’s toxicity and effects include ibotenic acid and muscimol.
Muscimol is the main active ingredient responsible for the intoxication caused by amanita muscaria. Ibotenic acid is a precursor compound to muscimol so, when the mushroom is dried, the ibotenic acid decarboxylates, transforming it into (you guessed it) more muscimol.
Both muscimol and ibotenic acid are found in much higher amounts in the mushroom caps, with moderate amounts found in the base and lesser amounts found in the stems.
Is amanita muscaria psychedelic?
Ingestion of fly agaric leads to a very different experience from traditional psychedelics, like psilocybin or LSD. An a. muscaria trip does have psychedelic qualities, but it’s more accurately classified as a deliriant.
Deliriants are a subclass of hallucinogens, characterized by their primary effect of causing delirium (drowsiness, disassociation, hallucinations, delusions), as opposed to other types of hallucinogens that cause more lucid states.
Historically, amanita muscaria mushrooms have been used in cultural and shamanic practices for their mind-altering properties.
Is amanita muscaria poisonous?
Amanita muscaria is a poisonous mushroom when eaten raw or undercooked, which is why the mushroom is usually cooked or dried before consumption. When prepared properly, fly agaric is considered to be an edible mushroom, while other species of amanita mushrooms are deadly poisonous.
Amanita muscaria poisoning usually presents symptoms of inebriation and nausea and, according to the North American Mycological Association, there haven’t been any recorded deaths from amanita mushroom poisoning in the last 100 years.
Is amanita muscaria legal?
Amanita muscaria is legal across all of North America. In the United States, it is legal according to Federal law, but prohibited in Louisiana (except for ornamental purposes) according to Louisiana State Act 159.
Amanita muscaria effects: How does it feel?
When consumed, amanita muscaria can induce a range of effects, including hallucinations, altered perception, and sedation. These effects can take anywhere between 20 and 90 minutes to come on, depending on your age, weight, and metabolism, as well as the last time you ate.
At lower doses, your perception may be changed in subtle ways. For me, I feel like I pay more attention to details, especially in nature which seems more vibrant. Colors look brighter and sounds, like bird calls and bullfrogs, seem to stand out more.
I also feel happy and talkative, as well as calm and clear-headed.
At higher doses, these perceptual differences are more dramatic and the euphoria is more intense. Nature and music take on a whole new meaning and I feel inspired, like everything around me has that WOW factor.
For the first hour or so, I also feel incredibly stimulated, but after that a “phase 2” seems to kick in, with the second phase being much more relaxed and dreamy. I would liken it to the feeling of being a bit drunk and high rolled into one.
At higher doses still, amanita muscaria is known to induce hallucinations, visions, and/or religious experiences, often after you’ve fallen asleep, but I personally haven’t taken enough to experience that.
Apparently, experiences with amanita mushrooms can vary wildly. Some people report feeling nothing at all, others feel intense euphoria, and others have mad trips, returning to the sober plane with tons of messages from the universe. Unfortunately, there’s no knowing which one of these you’ll be until you try it for yourself. What’s even more unfortunate is that some products just don’t work the way they should, making it very difficult for you to know whether the lack of effects is you or the product you’ve bought.
Even more reason to stick to one of my recommended vendors here!
Amanita muscaria benefits: Potential therapeutic uses
Amanita muscaria has a long history of use in traditional and shamanic practices for its perceived spiritual and healing properties. It has been used in rituals, ceremonies, and spiritual journeys to induce altered states of consciousness and promote introspection.
In recent years, there has been growing interest in exploring the potential therapeutic benefits of Amanita muscaria, particularly in relation to mental health and neurological conditions, due to the fact that muscimol has been shown to be an agonist at GABA-A receptors.
Pharmaceutical GABA receptor agonists, like diazepam and chlormethiazole, typically produce sedative-like effects and are used to treat insomnia, spasticity, anxiety, and stress. Research also suggests that GABA-A receptor agonists may be useful targets in the treatment of neuropathic and neurogenic pain.
Animal studies on muscimol, specifically, have shown that this compound is effective in reducing pain, but its effectiveness was said to gradually decrease over time.
Meanwhile, as more and more people try amanita muscaria for themselves, anecdotal evidence supporting the potential benefits of muscimol is mounting.
One study collated data from 684 users on social media and showed that the majority of people are using amanita muscaria to relieve (or reduce the severity of):
- Intestinal problems
- Skin problems (when prepared for topical use)
Where to find amanita muscaria in the USA
This iconic fungus is found in various parts of the world, particularly in temperate and boreal regions, where it forms symbiotic relationships with certain trees (Pine and Birch in particular).
In North America, amanita muscaria can be found growing as far north as southern Alaska, all the way down through the Rocky Mountains and into Central America.
Although amanita muscaria has iconic distinguishable features, they also have lookalikes, some of which are highly poisonous, which is why foraging for them is usually best left to the experts.
Where to buy amanita muscaria in the USA
As amanita muscaria continues to grow in popularity, more and more vendors have products containing amanita muscaria extract for sale, both online and in stores. However, you’ll nee to make sure that the product is safe and effective, as well as affordable.
How do I know if it’s safe?
In order to make sure a product containing amanita muscaria extract is safe to consume, you should check that the company has their products lab tested by third-parties and publish their results online for everyone to access.
How do I know if it’s effective?
When I was researching amanita muscaria gummies (for another article I wrote about the Best Mushroom Gummies), I was shocked to find that over half of the products I tested didn’t have any noticeable effects at all. Very disappointing indeed, especially when you’ve planned your entire day around enjoying the recreational benefits, or are relying on them for symptom relief.
For this reason, I would stick to brands that you know and trust or products that been highly recommended (see my recommendations below).
What should I pay?
In most cases, you get what you pay for. But I did find some amanita muscaria products that are safe, highly effective, and incredibly affordable. Just because you have high standards, doesn’t mean you always have to pay high prices!
Check out Galaxy Treats Moon Shroom gummies. They’re safe, clean, effective, and just happen to be some of the most affordable amanita muscaria gummies on the market.
How to take amanita muscaria
This last year or two has experienced something of a psychedelic renaissance and the popularity of amanita muscaria has exploded.
Eating raw amanita muscaria mushrooms can make some people really sick, as their bodies struggle to convert the ibotenic acid into muscimol.
People hunting amanita muscaria in the wild often boil the mushrooms to trigger the decarb process and then drink the resulting amanita muscaria tea. Consumable products tend to use dried amanita muscaria extract for the same reason.
When you’re shopping for a. muscaria, the products you’re most likely to come across include:
- Amanita muscaria gummies
- Amanita muscaria chocolate
- Amanita muscaria capsules
- Amanita muscaria tincture
- Amanita muscaria powder
- Amanita muscaria caps & stems (dried)
Having tried my fair share of amanita mushroom supplements, I find the gummies to be the easiest, most convenient, and palatable methods of consumption. I really enjoy the chocolate too but, personally, I think it’s better suited for microdosing, as trying to consume a larger dose via chocolate might leave you feeling a bit sick (which isn’t ideal at any time but especially before a psychoactive mushroom experience).
Amanita muscaria dosage
Like THC, amanita muscaria seems to elicit stronger effects in some people than it does others and your ideal amanita muscaria dose can depend on several factors, including your age, weight, and metabolism.
Amanita muscaria microdose
Although the current market is primarily geared towards recreational users, there are also many people that are interested in accessing amanita muscaria health benefits. Medicinal users often prefer to microdose amanita muscaria in order to experience relief from stress, depression, and pain, while avoiding the mushroom’s intoxicating effects.
Most amanita muscaria gummies are dosed at 350 mg per gummy. When I’m microdosing, I take 1/2 a gummy, but one of my friends once took 1/2 a gummy (from Galaxy Treats) and they felt much stronger effects than me. So, if you’ve never taken amanita muscaria before, I would recommend that you start with 1/4 of a gummy to see how it effects you personally.
Amanita muscaria trip dose
If you’re looking for a more “trippy” experience, then you will need to experiment with higher doses. Galaxy treats also has a higher dose option of 750 mg per gummy which are more suitable (and affordable) for more intense experiences.
I would recommend starting with one and slowly increasing the amount until you achieve your desired effects. I notice quite strong effects from taking one, but my husband prefers to take three at a time. Your sensitivity is likely to be different to ours, so it’s safer to start low.
Best amanita muscaria gummies
I’ve tried amanita muscaria in many different forms and from many different brands. My favorite products so far are these Moon Shroom gummies from Galaxy Treats (read my full amanita muscaria gummies review here).
This brand offers two different dosing options, to suit your needs, in a variety of flavors. Their 350 mg dose is better for microdosing amanita muscaria, while their stronger 750 mg gummy is better for people seeking a more potent and potentially transformational experience.
350 mg x 3 gummies (1,050 mg total) = $19.99
750 mg x 8 gummies (6,000 mg total) = $35.99
Most other brands I’ve come across don’t have any lab reports verifying their purity (some have potency tests) and the few that do are charging the equivalent of $50-60 for 6,000 mg of a. muscaria!
Galaxy Treats is the only brand I’ve found (so far) that is producing effective, safe, and affordable amanita muscaria products (but I’ll add more here as I find them).
Flying high with the fly agaric mushroom
From its iconic appearance to its potential psychoactive and therapeutic properties, amanita muscaria has captured the curiosity and imagination of scientists, recreational users, and medicinal users alike.
Hopefully this article has answered any questions you had about amanita muscaria, including the potential effects and benefits, how to find your ideal dosage, and how to find the best amanita muscaria products.
If you don’t have time to do the brand research yourself, or are still unsure where to start, then stick to my recommendations here to ensure you’re getting a safe and effective product.