Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Amanita Mushrooms
By Jaden Rae
Disclaimer: We do not encourage illegal activity. Check with and adhere to your local laws. We do not claim psychedelics or plant medicine to be a substitute for professional medical care. Always consult with your doctor. The goal of this article is to promote safety and education.
If you frequent smoke shops, you’ve probably noticed Amanita mushrooms popping up on shelves. Often advertised as “legal psychedelics,” there’s a lot you need to know about Amanita before trying it.
What is Amanita Muscaria?
Amanita muscaria, also known as fly agaric or Santa Claus mushroom, is an iconic fungi. You may recognize its bright red cap and white spots from cartoons like the Smurfs or Super Mario Brothers video games. The mushroom is sometimes earthy orange or pale yellow with white gills and contains two alkaloids: psychoactive muscimal and a neurotoxin called ibotenic acid.
The History of Amanita Muscaria
The indigenous peoples of Siberia are of the first known communities to consume the mushroom as part of their spiritual practice. They believed it to be a mystical medicine that helped them commune with the spirit world, heal people and predict the future.
It’s believed that the Vikings of medieval Northern Europe, or Berserkers, may have also used Amanita to enhance their fearlessness and power in battle. An 1918 historical paper at the Royal Scientific Society in Upsala reveals a similar scenario for Swedish soldiers of the Värmland Regiment:
“were seized by a raging madness, foaming at the mouth. On inquiry it was learned that the soldiers had eaten of the fly amanita, to whip up their courage to a fighting pitch.”
Fly agaric was the recreational drug of choice in several parts of Europe before vodka was introduced, and holds a long history of being featured in cultural art and literature. Because muscimol-induced hallucinations often include the distortion of time, space and size, Amanita muscaria is thought to be the mushroom that Alice eats to make her shrink and grow throughout Wonderland.
Unlike other mushrooms, Amanita muscaria cannot be farmed or cultivated. It can only be harvested from the wild, where it has a mycorrhizal relationship with tree roots, which further adds to its mystique and rarity.
The Legal Status of Amanita Muscaria
Amanita muscaria’s legality has varied over time and across different countries.
In the US, Amanita muscaria is not listed as a controlled substance or considered federally illegal, however some states, like Louisiana, have made it illegal to buy, sell, or possess it with intent to consume.
Internationally, fly agarics’ legal status is highly varied and often confusing. In the United Kingdom, it is not considered an illegal substance, but it is illegal to prepare or sell the mushroom for human consumption. In Australia and New Zealand, the mushroom is considered a controlled substance and is illegal to buy, sell, or consume. In Canada, it’s not specifically listed as illegal, but its psychoactive compounds are controlled, so while the mushroom itself might not be illegal to own, using it for its psychoactive effects could be.
The Effects of Amanita
Fans of Amanita muscaria often praise it for its healing benefits and ability to provide relief from anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. Some believe that it can enhance creativity and help people connect with nature and their spirituality. When microdosed, the mushroom may induce a state of relaxation and euphoria.
However, even among amanita advocates, it’s considered a very powerful substance with many potential risks. Fly agarics in general are known for unpredictable clinical effects, depending upon each person’s unique bio-individuality. The amount of its chemical compounds can vary wildly from mushroom to mushroom, and differ depending on region, altitude, and season of growth. Spring and summer mushrooms can contain up to 10 times as much muscimol and ibotenic acid than autumn specimens. For these reasons, the FDA classifies Amanita muscaria as toxic, with adverse effects that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, dizziness, and confusion. In severe cases, it can lead to central nervous system depression, retrograde amnesia, seizures, unconsciousness, coma, and even death.
It’s imperative to note that misidentifying Amanita muscaria when foraging in the wild can have life-threatening consequences. Similar mushrooms, such as Amanita phalloides, or “Death Cap”, is highly toxic and quite deadly, as are many other look-alikes.
The Rise of Amanita Products
Rather than risking a harvesting mishap, many choose to purchase Amanita products from their local head shop or black market, but this should also be met with caution. A recent lab report performed by Flora Research Labs revealed one local Las Vegas vendor’s Amanita products tested positive for both psilocybin and psilocin. Chillum, a company in Florida, was shut down just last year for selling these same products. Moreover, multiple users have reported feeling “high” after consuming amanita gummies from smoke shops and failed THC drug tests after consumption.
Further evidence of adulterated Amanita gummies were confirmed after my visit to this year’s local Champs Trade Show. I questioned vendors of Amanita products about the availability of a mushroom that can only be foraged in the wild. Some admitted that there was a negligible amount of Amanita in their products, replaced instead by unlisted ingredients like psilocybin and Delta-8 THC. Currently, it’s much too easy for companies to add clandestine substances to these products, so if you’re interested in trying Amanita, I highly recommend sourcing whole dried mushrooms, so that you can ensure purity.
Psilocybin vs. Amanita Muscaria
When comparing psychedelic mushrooms, it’s essential to understand the differences between psilocybin and Amanita muscaria. Although mushrooms can induce altered states of consciousness, their psychoactive effects and safety profiles differ significantly.
Psilocybin mushrooms, or magic mushrooms, are known for their ability to induce vivid hallucinations, profound emotional experiences, and a sense of connectedness with nature and the universe. Users often report personal growth and insight from psilocybin trips, resulting in positive changes to their lives.
The effects of Amanita muscaria, however, can vary widely. Users report experiencing vivid dreams, altered perceptions, and a sense of euphoria, though trips are often more unpredictable and can include negative effects like nausea, vomiting, and confusion.
That’s why, in my opinion, psilocybin is the more reliable option for those interested in exploring the world of psychedelics.
Where To Find Amanita Muscaria
Let’s say you’ve read all of the above, you’ve done a wealth of research on your own, and you’re still interested in trying Amanita for yourself. Where can you source them?
Here are a few trusted resources for Amanita:
- Minnesota Nice Enthobotanicals: https://mn-nice-ethnobotanicals.com/
- Amanita Muscaria Shop: https://amanitamuscariashop.com/
- Shaman’s Garden: https://www.shamansgarden.com/p-27-washington-state-amanita-caps-grade-a.aspx
- Amanita Dreamer: https://www.amanitadreamer.net
- All Things Amanita on Instagram at @allthingsamanita.
Another good reason to buy these as whole dried caps is that, currently, there is no way to test Amanita mushrooms for purity the way you would with most other psychedelic substances.
Amanita Muscaria Dosage:
Though the dosage of Amanita muscaria can be challenging to determine, the following information should be seen as a rough guide:
- Microdose: less than 1 gram of dried mushroom cap
- Low dose: 2 to 3 grams of dried mushroom cap
- Average dose: 5 to 10 grams of dried mushroom cap
- High dose: 10 to 30 grams of dried mushroom cap
The effects of Amanita muscaria can take 2 to 3 hours to reach maximum effect, and last 6 to 8 hours, depending on dosage.
About the Author:
Jaden Rae is a Las Vegas resident and best-selling author of the Microdosing Guide And Journal. She hosts a free online community at MagicandGlow.com and provides tools to enhance emotional well-being, find meaning, create magic, nourish souls and enrich lives. Jaden has been featured on the Today Show, The Early Show, Martha Stewart Radio, Fox Business News and more. You can find her on Instagram @magicandglowco. Come experience “Psychedelic Journey without Psychedelics” June 17th at the Radiance Wellness & Music Festival at Area 15, with Matisyahu and The Original Wailers headlining.