With an enchanting appearance and a famous reputation in numerous countries around the planet, amanita muscaria mushrooms are readily recognizable but not all that familiar. But, if you have a fondness for magic mushrooms, you’ll definitely want to take note.
Amanita muscaria mushrooms are psychoactive, possibly even hallucinogenic, and actually accessible to most Americans legally.
What is amanita muscaria exactly though? We’ve pulled together all the details to help inform you about this fascinating fungi!
What is Amanita Muscaria?
Amanita Muscaria is the scientific name for amanita mushrooms, which are also called fly agaric mushrooms. These psychedelic mushrooms grow in groups or clusters throughout areas like Britain, Asia, Canada, Ireland, and the US. However, in recent decades, the fungi have managed to make their way to non-native areas in the Southern Hemisphere as well. Amanitas tend to grow most prevalently on forest floors and most often show up beneath conifers like pines and spruces, as well as around birch trees where they emerge through layers of dead leaves and debris from the trees overhead.
While you may not be familiar with amanita muscaria by name, you may be familiar with what they look like. A lot of people consider amanita mushrooms to have one of the most iconic mushroom appearances. The mature mushrooms have a white stem that leads to an umbrella-like red, orange-red, or yellowish cap that is speckled with raised white spots. The attractive, iconic mushroom appearance means these mushrooms have been featured in everything from books, fairytales, and movies to popular video games.
A Brief History of Amanita Mushrooms
While the market for amanita mushrooms has only recently started to bloom, these mushrooms actually have a long, colorful, and somewhat peculiar history. Several indigenous peoples relied on amanitas for entheogenic or spiritual purposes. In parts of Asia over 4,000 years ago, fly agaric was considered sacred and used to make a ritual drink referred to as ‘soma,’ that induced hallucinations.
In areas that are now known as Scandinavia, shamans often collected these attractive mushrooms, dried them, and then passed them out during food shortages through the winter. The locals would use the dried mushrooms to brew up hallucinogenic tea. And, because the active agents in the mushroom tea remained intact even after getting processed by the kidneys, there are reports that some people drank their own urine to get even further use of the tea.
Thankfully, there is no urine involved with the modern-day consumption of amanita mushrooms. There are plenty to go around and products being produced with the mushroom’s extracts so amanita muscaria is commercially available to most.
Are Amanita Mushrooms Psychedelic?
Amanita mushrooms are definitely considered psychedelic mushrooms, albeit the effects are not quite the same as what you would expect from psilocybin species.
At large enough doses, amanita mushrooms can cause visual perception changes, auditory hallucinations, spatial distortion, and even changes in the awareness of time.
The compounds responsible for the psychedelic nature of amanita muscaria are primarily the alkaloids muscarine and ibotenic acid. Ibotenic acid is decarboxylated into muscimol after ingestion, which is also psychoactive.
How Does Amanita Muscaria Work?
Amanita muscaria may seem similar to mushrooms that contain psilocybin, but they are actually quite different in terms of how they work. The active agents in amanita mushrooms act on wholly different receptors than psilocybin. Psilocybin has a profound effect on serotonin-based neurotransmitters in the brain.
By contrast, muscimol and ibotenic acid have an influence on GABA receptors in the brain. GABA receptors are responsible for regulating excitatory compounds in the central nervous system, so they have a number of important roles, right down to emotional regulation.
Effects of Amanita Muscaria
Amanita muscaria was once thought to offer highly unreliable effects. However, this was primarily because the concentration of the different alkaloids in the eaten mushroom caps could be so variable, and it could be difficult to gauge exactly how much of the active alkaloids people were consuming. Thankfully, science and modern botanical extract processes and analysis have made it possible to better gauge concentrations and effects with different extract doses.
In general, the effects people describe with amanita muscaria include:
- Mild auditory or visual perception changes
- Physical relaxation or a mildly sedated state
- Vivid daydreaming or extremely vivid dreams after falling asleep
In smaller, controlled doses, amanita muscaria mushrooms are not all that likely to induce profound hallucinogenic effects. Instead, you will likely feel highly relaxed with a mind that creatively wanders and slight sensual perception changes. Some people claim that the effects are reminiscent of something like Indica-strain cannabis.
Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Amanita Mushrooms
While amanita muscaria have been used in history for spiritual purposes and there is a lot of interest in hallucinogenic effects, these mushrooms may also offer therapeutic value. The active compounds in these mushrooms have been extensively studied. In fact, there are at least 3,200 documents published in scientific journals related to muscimol, amanita muscaria, and ibotenic acid.
Stress and Anxiety
One of the primary effects of amanita mushrooms is their ability to induce a state of tranquility and mental ease. While psilocybin’s effects can be too much for people with certain levels of anxiety or stress, the active agent in amanita mushrooms is less profound. Therefore, it may be an even better source for targeting certain mental challenges like stress and anxiety.
Muscimol has been found to enhance REM sleep duration through interaction with GABA receptors. Beyond that, other types of sleep were also enhanced. Anecdotally, many people report that amanita muscaria helps with falling asleep and staying asleep.
Pain and Inflammation
Research published in 2014 found muscimol to be an effective agent for targeting neuropathic pain, which can be notoriously difficult to treat. Small doses were capable of offering improvement in pain levels. Earlier studies also found extracts from amanita muscaria to be a good agent for starting inflammatory pain.
Is Amanita Muscaria Legal in the United States?
Currently, amanita muscaria and products made with amanita muscaria mushroom extracts are legal in almost all states. While psychedelic substances like psilocybin are listed as controlled substances, the active alkaloids in amanita mushrooms are not. Therefore, these mushrooms are legal on a federal level. Unfortunately, one state—Louisiana—has explicitly made amanita muscaria mushrooms illegal for use.
Take a Trip with Galaxy Treats Amanita Mushroom Gummies
Interested in trying amanita muscaria mushrooms for your own outer-space trip?
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