08 September 2009

Psychoactive amanita

Amanita muscaria mushrooms have been used in Siberian shamanism for centuries, or perhaps as long as thousands of years. Learn more about them.

Original article by

Amanita muscaria) and the panther mushroom (A. pantherina). Both contain the ibotenic acid and muscimol, which produce inebriating effects. Amanita intoxication is quite different from that caused by psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms, which are primarily found in the Psilocybe genus. The effects of amanitas are sometimes considered unpleasant, and are often accompanied by nausea, chills, and other negative side-effects.

Amanita muscaria: Recreational doses range from 3-10 grams of dry mushroom material depending on the strength of the specimen. Fresh mushrooms are considerably heavier. One medium-size cap of an Amanita muscaria is sometimes considered a moderate dose, but potency varies widely, depending on the season in which they are picked and significant regional variations.

The primary effects of amanitas come from ibotenic acid and muscimol. Muscimol affects the GABA system, while ibotenic acid simulates glutamate in the brain. When baked or dried, ibotenic acid transforms into the more-potent muscimol through decarboxylation.

Amanita muscaria mushrooms have a long history of shamanic use in some parts of Siberia, possibly dating back thousands of years. The earliest-known documented account of Siberian mushroom use dates to 1658 when a Polish prisoner-of-war wrote: "They eat certain fungi in the shape of fly-agarics, and thus they become drunk worse than on vodka, and for them that's the very best banquet."

Soma that the A. muscaria was an entheogenic sacrament described by early Hindus in the Rig Veda.

Terminology / Slang
Fly-agaric (A. muscaria); Panther Mushroom (A. pantherina).

The potency and effects of amanitas vary widely among individuals and among mushroom specimens. Strong nausea and/or vomiting are common, particularly in the first few hours. Some users report euphoria and a sociable feeling of inebriation with some similarities to alcohol intoxication. Users may experience mild visual distortions, loss of balance, and sedation. Some report feeling a sense of internal clarity, while others feel disoriented or confused.

Onset is generally slow, typically taking two to three hours.

The primary effects of amanitas last for six to eight hours when taken orally.

There are a handful of deaths attributed to A. muscaria, but this appears to be extremely uncommon. A. muscaria and A. pantherina are frequently described as "toxic" in mushroom field guides, but this appears to refers to the putative undesirability of their psychoactive effects.

Do not operate heavy machinery. Do not drive.

Addiction potential
Psychoactive Amanitas are neither physically addicting nor likely to cause psychological dependence. Last modified April 2009.

Erowid caution and disclaimer


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Lifestyle »

E-cigarettes: Here are five things to know

E-cigarettes have become hugely popular in the past decade, but a rash of vaping-linked deaths and illnesses in the US is feeding caution about a product that's already banned in some places.

Allergy »

Ditch the itch: Researchers find new drug to fight hives

A new drug works by targeting an immune system antibody called immunoglobulin E, which is responsible for the allergic reaction that causes hives.