What Is Muscimol & What Are its Benefits?

Brie Lowrey

Ever wondered what makes mushrooms so trippy? You might already know one possible answer: psilocybin is a compound famous for causing colorful, mind-enhancing psychedelic effects. But what about muscimol, its often-overlooked relative?

As natural medicines take the world by storm, interest in muscimol blossoms like the mushrooms it comes from. That’s why we’re here to share the details you need to know about muscimol, including its benefits, side effects, and how to use it safely. Without further ado, let’s dive into what makes this secret ingredient worth paying attention to.

What is Muscimol?

Muscimol is one of the main psychoactive compounds found in medicinal mushrooms, including amanita mushrooms (or “fly agaric”). As an agonist for GABA receptors, muscimol interacts with the body’s central nervous system and produces sedative, hypnotic, and hallucinogenic effects.

Both amanita pantherina and amanita muscaria mushrooms contain muscimol, as do many other related species. These fungi also have another secret weapon: ibotenic acid. Muscimol and ibotenic acid work together to create the classic effects that we can attribute to psychoactive mushrooms.

Wait, What is a GABA Receptor?

To understand how muscimol affects the body, you first need to familiarize yourself with gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. 

GABA is a neurotransmitter, which means it’s a chemical messenger that helps your brain understand how to function. More specifically, GABA works by slowing down your brain and blocking specific signals in your central nervous system. 

But why would such a thing be beneficial? Experts believe GABA plays a key role in controlling hyperactivity in never cells associated with anxiety, stress, and fear. Essentially, GABA helps keep you from shaking in your boots when you’re nervous – it helps give your brain the control and focus it needs to respond to stressful situations.

So, a GABA receptor is an area on a nerve cell where GABA can dock and send its messages to the brain. This matters because muscimol is a GABA receptor agonist, which means it’s a chemical that can also prompt certain bodily responses. 

Just as GABA binds to receptors to tell your brain not to make your muscles shake, muscimol steps in and performs a similar function. But something unique happens when GABA binds to receptors – the cells that hold them lose some of their responsiveness. 

Muscimol molecules effectively tell your brain to relax and disconnect some of your nerve cells from one another, creating sedative and psychoactive effects that can leave you feeling out of touch with your body.

Does Muscimol Have Any Benefits?

Muscimol is best known for its sedative, euphoric, and hallucinogenic effects. However, it may have other therapeutic benefits that might make it an ideal treatment for some chronic health conditions.

Research on muscimol in humans is limited, but some studies have explored its impact on muscle activity and conditions like epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease. 

While we might not know much about how muscimol can help us beneath the surface, we do have plenty of anecdotal evidence to use as a guide. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly reported benefits of muscimol and the shrooms that contain it.

Sedative Effects

Since it essentially blocks part of your central nervous system and tells your brain to relax, muscimol has heavily sedating effects. Many who use it go through periods of intense drowsiness followed by moments of agitation or surges of mental activity. 

These sedative effects may benefit more than just our minds, though. One study found that muscimol could help reduce seizure frequency in rats, suggesting its ability to tell our muscles to “chill out, man” could be powerful enough to work in our favor.

Lowering Inflammation

An exciting possibility that’s yet to be fully explored for muscimol is its ability to lower systemic inflammation. Lessened inflammation is a well-touted benefit of THC, another psychoactive compound used medicinally, so it’s not too much of a surprise to see it here. But researchers aren’t entirely sure why muscimol does this. We know that THC binds to receptors that affect immune function, but it’s less clear how muscimol tells the body to cut back on its inflammatory response.

What is certain is that muscimol can lead to observable differences in inflammation. That means it could potentially help treat or prevent chronic conditions tied to systemic inflammation.


Perhaps most important to many consumers are muscimol’s psychedelic effects. Users who ingest muscimol report entering a highly euphoric, dream-like state that can be both enlightening and disorienting. 

Powerful waves of relaxation coupled with shifts in mood and perception can easily be enjoyable, but they can also be overwhelming. 

Does Muscimol Have Any Risks?

There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding muscimol and its safety. You might have heard that consuming mushrooms could cause serious side effects and even death. 

While it is possible to technically “poison” yourself with muscimol, many people who do experience little more than temporary unpleasant effects. Few people even need to be hospitalized. Deaths connected to mushroom consumption are actually extremely rare.

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to go crazy and throw caution to the wind. Muscimol isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so you, as the consumer, are ultimately the judge on whether a product is safe to put into your body. 

It’s important to be sure you know what you’re ingesting and that you’re well aware of the risks that might follow.

Potential Side Effects of Muscimol

Most side effects of muscimol relate to gastrointestinal distress (AKA stomach and gut problems). Examples of muscimol side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle twitching
  • Delusions or hallucinations

These side effects should go away on their own within a few hours. Psychoactive side effects can be expected when consuming muscimol, but they can be intense enough to cause distress in some cases. That’s why it’s important to be aware of what to expect and have a game plan if you decide to ingest muscimol.

How to Use Muscimol Safely

Decided to take the leap and see how muscimol treats you? Here are some general safety precautions you can take to ensure your experience is as positive as possible:

  • Dose Appropriately. Muscimol is strong, potentially stronger than you realize. That’s why it’s good to start with the lowest effective dose and work your way up from there. It only takes around 10-15 mg of muscimol to produce effects in most healthy adults, so aim for a dose within this range if it’s your first time. It can take a few hours for effects to kick in, too, so make sure you wait at least an hour or so before trying to take more.

  • Prepare a Trip Plan. Have an idea of what you want to get out of your trip before things kick off. Make sure you have some activities and sources of comfort handy to keep your mind occupied during the experience. Some comfy blankets, your favorite music, ambient lighting, and a coloring book are some simple suggestions to get you started.

  • Have a Trip Sitter. Even if they can’t be with you physically, having a trusted friend, family member, or another person you can count on keep an eye on you can give you some serious peace of mind. It also ensures that should things go south, someone who’s not inebriated is around to help out.

Above all else, check in with your doctor before embarking on any trip. Nature’s medicines don’t have to be in competition with other medicines, after all, and it’s important to ensure you’re not risking interaction with prescription medications or existing health conditions.

Final Thoughts

With great power comes great responsibility, and muscimol certainly places a lot of power in the hands of its user. Make sure you wield that power safely by practicing good trip habits and trusting only the most reputable sellers for your products.

At The Green Dragon CBD, we work closely with trusted manufacturers to sell products you can count on. We’re passionate about educating our consumers and giving them the resources they need to make informed decisions. 

We invite you to contact us for a free consultation or to learn more about our products. Our team is eager to help you find the right natural medicines for you, no matter what that might look like.

What Is Muscimol & What Are its Benefits?
Ever wondered what makes mushrooms so trippy? You might already know one possible answer: psilocybin. But what about muscimol, its often-overlooked relative?
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What Is Muscimol & What Are its Benefits?
October 3, 2023