Is the Amanita Muscaria Mushroom Psychedelic?
You can’t think of mushrooms without picturing Amanita muscaria and its iconic red-and-white speckled toadstools. But did you know this classic mushroom is highly poisonous? Despite this, A. muscaria is a popular pick for those seeking a psychedelic trip.
But how can a mushroom be poisonous and therapeutic at the same time? Below, we’ll unpack what’s going on beneath the surface to help you make informed decisions about how you consume A. muscaria. Let’s get started!
What is Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric)?
The classic red-and-white toadstools of Amanita muscaria, also known as fly agaric, are the stuff of legends. These powerful mushrooms are native to many regions of Asia and may also be found in countries throughout the Southern Hemisphere. It’s part of the genus Amanita, which comprises some of the most poisonous mushrooms around the globe.
It’s hard to miss A. muscaria with its large, white-gilled and spotted appearance, especially since its look is so widely seen in popular culture. From power-ups in the Super Mario franchise to the charming shroom homes in The Smurfs, A. muscaria appearances are everywhere. Its distinguishable features make it one of the most iconic mushroom species to date, but A. muscaria has a few other tricks up its sleeves.
Like other poisonous mushrooms, A. muscaria is rich in a compound called muscimol, which produces hallucinogenic effects upon consumption. Also present is a chemical known as ibotenic acid, which transforms into muscimol in the body to produce even stronger effects.
These psychoactive compounds form the foundation of A. muscaria’s place in human culture and history. The mushroom has been eaten in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America for centuries.
Its collection and use have also been part of winter solstice traditions for many European and Asian cultures. In some sects of Central Asia, the shroom plays a key role in shamanistic rituals. Its use even predates the crossing of the Bering Straits into North America completed by our ancient human ancestors.
So, A. muscaria is nothing new, and it’s certainly here to stay. But to use this famous red mushroom to our benefit, we must first understand its effects and risks.
Is Amanita Muscaria Psychedelic?
Amanita muscaria does produce psychoactive effects thanks to active compounds like muscimol and ibotenic acid. The psychedelic “trip” that follows consumption can make users feel detached from their bodies or out of touch with their surroundings.
The mushroom works its magic by sending chemicals that are similar to GABA, a neurotransmitter, into the body. Muscimol and ibotenic acid rapidly enter the bloodstream via the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the central nervous system. The result is sedative, mind-altering effects that impact perception, thought patterns, and more.
Though A. muscaria can stimulate your central nervous system, it can also slow it down (much like a drink of alcohol might). As active compounds break down and interact with the body, many users experience alternating periods of excitation and sedation.
How is A. muscaria different from other mushrooms?
A key component of A. muscaria is its psychoactive compounds. Not all medicinal mushrooms have chemicals like muscimol, and not all options are capable of causing a “trip.”
But that doesn’t mean that other medicinal mushrooms don’t still have plenty to offer. Psychedelic or not, mushrooms are packed with naturally healing compounds that can be used for any number of health concerns.
For instance, the turkey tail mushroom, another common medicinal fungus, contains polysaccharide K (PSK), which is approved in many Asian countries to treat cancer. It’s believed the mushroom may have effects that inhibit the growth of tumors, though more research is needed to fully explore how these fungal friends can benefit our health.
Is Amanita Muscaria Poisonous?
Technically, A. muscaria is highly poisonous. But it’s not necessarily toxic. The poisonous compounds in the mushrooms are actually the same chemicals that create a psychedelic trip. By willingly consuming A. muscaria, you are, by definition, poisoning yourself. You’re ingesting compounds that could make you sick and are meant to help the fungus defend itself from predators.
But much like other plant defense mechanisms we’ve learned to enjoy (i.e., smoking psychoactive compounds like THC or enjoying a hot pepper), muscimol is still consumed recreationally and medicinally.
That’s because few cases of extreme reactions – like comas or death – are recorded. Most serious instances of A. muscaria toxicity come from extremely large doses or involve children. Ingesting small amounts at a time is unlikely to lead to anything more than some unpleasant side effects.
However, because the mushroom is still considered poisonous, it’s best to be careful when you use it and consume it at your own risk.
Amanita Muscaria Side Effects
Most side effects of A. muscaria appear within about 30 to 120 minutes of ingestion. They should go away on their own as the trip progresses. Some common examples of side effects include:
- In rare cases, changes in breathing, heart rate, or blood pressure may occur
Amanita Muscaria Effects & Trip Experiences
What is it like to trip on Amanita muscaria? It depends on who you ask. Some users report a jarring, intense experience that left them disoriented. Others find powerful therapeutic benefits in their trip and experience shifts in perspective that stick with them.
Overall, it seems fair to expect your trip to be a bit of a mixed bag. You might experience periods of stimulation followed by feelings of heavy sedation, or your trip may primarily lean toward one end of the spectrum. Some people report minimal effects, while others swear they’re bed-bound as soon as their trip kicks off.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway here is that there is no one experience to expect from A. muscaria. There simply isn’t enough research or anecdotal evidence to point to a clear series of effects.
What we know for sure is that most people who consume the mushroom experience visual and auditory perceptual changes, spatial distortion, and shifts in their awareness. Whether these effects are pleasant, overwhelming, or just plain “fine” likely comes down to your expectations and experience with tripping.
How to Trip Safely
Anytime you decide to pop one of your favorite mushroom gummies or take a trip with A. muscaria, make sure you take the time to set yourself up for success. Since this mushroom is so powerful, it’s wise to treat it with caution.
Follow these essential tips to ensure your trip is as safe and pleasant as possible:
- Don’t Trip Alone. It’s a good idea to make sure someone you trust knows that you’re tripping so you have a safe, sober person to reach out to. If you have a bad reaction or just need some help navigating your symptoms, it’s always nice to have someone you can count on. Plus, knowing you have someone looking out for you can take a lot of stress off your mind.
- Start With Low Doses. Always follow package instructions and start with a beginner’s dose when embarking on a trip. It can take up to two hours for the effects of your mushrooms to fully kick in, so resist the urge to pile on more doses while you wait.
- Have a Plan. Set up a cozy spot to hang out, and ensure you have all the activities and stimuli you’ll need to enjoy your trip nearby. Your favorite music, some cool water, a fuzzy blanket, and something to watch are just a few examples of trip activities you’ll want to set up ahead of time.
Where to Find Quality Amanita Muscaria Products
Because A. muscaria is so strong, it’s wise to only source it from sellers you trust. You ultimately are the final authority over what you put in your body. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate these products, consumers, unfortunately, are responsible for finding safe, reputable products.
You can count on The Green Dragon CBD to deliver trustworthy products for a price you can afford. We work closely with manufacturers we believe in to ensure we offer only the best options on the market. We’re dedicated to helping our customers find the best deals and products for their lifestyles.