Amanita muscaria (mycology)

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Amanita muscaria (mycology)
800px-2006-10-25 Amanita muscaria crop.jpg
A. muscaria mushrooms in different stages of growth.
Taxonomical nomenclature
Kingdom Fungi
Phylum Basidiomycota
Class Agaricomycetes
Order Agaricales
Family Amanitaceae
Genus Amanita
Species A. muscaria
Common nomenclature
Common names Fly agaric , fly amanita
Mycological Characteristics
Spore print White
Active constituents Muscimol , ibotenic acid

Amanita muscaria, also known as fly agaric or fly amanita, is a psychoactive mushroom that grows widely in the northern hemisphere. The main psychoactive compound in this mushroom is muscimol, and its effects are different to those of psilocybin-containing mushrooms.


Amanita muscaria has formed a symbiotic relationship with various coniferous and deciduous trees such as birches, pines, and spruces, and can often be found growing near them. There are many different varieties of amanita muscaria with varying appearances.[1]


Muscimol, the primary psychoactive constituent in Amanita muscaria.

The principle psychoactive compounds in amanita muscaria are muscimol and the related compound ibotenic acid. Both compounds have similar molecular structures; however, ibotenic acid contains a carboxyl group. Both compounds contain an isoxazole ring with a hydroxyl group bonded at the 3-position. Unlike muscimol, ibotenic acid is a non-selective glutamate receptor agonist, which contributes to its relatively powerful neurotoxic effects. Ibotenic acid is also decarboxylated to muscimol.

Amanita muscaria also contains small amounts of muscarine, a non-selective muscarinic acetylcholine receptor agonist. While this was once thought to be the principle mechanism of action of amanita muscaria, it is no longer thought to be since the levels of muscarine are too low to be significant.


Amanita muscaria var alba. Some varieties of A. muscaria can be confused with poisonous ones.

Amanita muscaria has an atypical mechanism of action. Unlike classical psychedelics (which are 5-HT2A agonists) and classical dissociatives (which are NMDA receptor antagonists), muscimol is a potent GABAA agonist, meaning it activates the receptor for GABA, the brain's principle inhibitory neurotransmitter. As an agonist, muscimol binds to the same site on the GABAA receptor as GABA itself. This is unlike benzodiazepines and barbiturates, which bind to different allosteric sites on the GABAA receptor. Muscimol has also been shown to be a partial agonist at the GABAA-ρ receptor, which may contribute to its psychoactive effects. Some substances that interact with the GABAA receptor such as zolpidem have been shown to also have hallucinogenic effects.

Ibotenic acid has been shown to be a potent NMDA agonist as well as a powerful agonist at the group I and group II metabotropic glutamate receptors. Due to in vivo decarboxylation, ibotenic acid is metabolized to muscimol and thus has many similar pharmacological characteristics.

Toxicity and harm potential

The LD50 of muscimol in rat is 45mg/kg orally and in mice is 20mg/kg orally.[2]

Similar species

Skull and crossbones darktextred2.png

Hunting psychoactive mushrooms in nature can be very dangerous.

Caution is advised because poisonous or deadly mushrooms can easily be mistaken for edible ones.

Amanita regalis - Psychoactive - This species contains ibotenic acid and muscimol.
Amanita caesarea - Edible, but not recommended.
Amanita pantherina - Psychoactive - This species contains ibotenic acid and muscimol.
Amanita phalloides - Deadly - This species contains α-amanitin and β-Amanitin which has lead to numerous deaths.

Subjective effects

Amanita muscaria (mycology)
A drawing of an Amanita Muscaria mushroom
Chemical Nomenclature
Common names Muscimol, Amanita Muscaria
Systematic name 5-(Aminomethyl)-isoxazol-3-ol
Class Membership
Psychoactive class Hallucinogen
Chemical class Isoxazole
Routes of Administration

WARNING: Always start with lower doses due to differences between individual body weight, tolerance, metabolism, and personal sensitivity. See responsible use section.

Threshold 0.5 - 1 g
Light 1 - 5 g
Common 5 - 15 g
Strong 15 - 30 g
Heavy 30 g +
Total 6 - 12 hours
Onset 20 - 40 minutes
Peak 3 - 6 hours
Offset 1 - 2 hours
After effects 3 - 5 hours

DISCLAIMER: PW's dosage information is gathered from users and resources for educational purposes only. It is not a recommendation and should be verified with other sources for accuracy.

The effects listed below are based upon the subjective effects index and personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. The listed effects should be taken with a grain of salt and will rarely (if ever) occur all at once, but heavier doses will increase the chances and are more likely to induce a full range of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include injury or death.

Cognitive effects

Auditory effects

Multi-sensory effects

Toxicity and harm potential

Since muscimol and ibotenic acid are GABAA agonists, it may be harmful to combine it with other GABAergic depressants such as benzodiazepines or barbiturates. Ibotenic acid is also known to be a neurotoxin, acting via the NMDA receptor and metabotropic glutamate receptor. It is wise to dry amanita muscarias in the oven or purchase pre-dried amanitas to ensure the ibotenic acid concentration is as low as possible.

One of the major dangers of amanita muscaria is misidentifying it as a different species of mushroom. Several other mushrooms in the genus amanita are toxic. One such mushroom, the amanita phalloides, better known as the death cap, contains α-amanitin and β-Amanitin, both of which are extremely potent RNA polymerase II and RNA polymerase III inhibitors which damage virtually every tissue in the body. As the name suggests, the amanita muscaria contains the chemical muscarine, a muscarinic acetylcholine agonist which is known to cause seizures; however, the mushroom contains very low amounts that are highly unlikely to pose any significant harm.

Amanita muscaria mushrooms are not known to be either addictive, nor dependence-forming, and reports even show that desire to redose goes down with usage, however there is no research on this topic.

It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this drug.

Legal issues

A. muscaria grows naturally and is legal to grow, sell and consume in most parts of the world. It is, however, restricted within some countries.

  • Australia - Muscimol found within amanita muscaria is considered a Schedule 9 prohibited substance in Australia under the Poisons Standard (October 2015).[3] A Schedule 9 substance is a substance which may be abused or misused and the manufacture, possession, sale or use of is prohibited by law except when required for medical or scientific research, or for analytical, teaching or training purposes with approval of Commonwealth and/or State or Territory Health Authorities.[3]
  • Netherlands - Amanita muscaria and amanita pantherina are illegal to buy, sell, or possess since December 2008. Possession of amounts larger than 0.5 g dried or 5 g fresh lead to a criminal charge.[4]
  • United Kingdom - It is illegal to produce, supply, or import this drug under the Psychoactive Substance Act, which came into effect on May 26th, 2016.[5]

See also

External links


  1. Fuhrer BA. (2005). A field guide to Australian fungi. Melbourne: Bloomings Books. p. 24.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Poisons Standard October 2015". Federal Register of Legislation. 
  4. " - Regeling - Opiumwet - BWBR0001941". (in Dutch). 
  5. Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 ( |