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Are legal psychedelics too good to be true? Surprisingly, there are psychedelic mushrooms other than those belonging to the psilocybin family. One of these mushrooms is Amanita Muscaria, commonly known as Fly Agaric. While it’s still psychedelic its chemical composition and effects are completely different, as well as the safety profile.
With ongoing efforts of decriminalization of psilocybin-containing mushrooms, many questions arise. One of them, what’s the what’s the difference between Amanita muscaria and mushrooms mushrooms? We’ve put together a detailed comparison to better understand both of these plant medicines that can help you understand the differences and know what to expect.

What is Amanita Muscaria Mushroom?

Amanita muscaria

Amanita Muscaria, frequently referred to as the Fly Agaric Mushroom, belongs to the Amanita genus. It is recognizable by its distinctive red and white dotted head and sturdy white stem with rings. Its remarkable beauty has inspired several stories throughout history, one of which is the tale of Santa Claus. Some cultures are tying it with religious ceremonies in ancient societies and others linking its dream-inducing abilities frequently used by Siberian shamans.

While this mushroom is infamous for being deadly and causing serious poisoning if taken raw, it may be made safe to eat and may even provide some advantages when properly cooked. However, inexperienced mushroom enthusiasts should stay clear of playing with fire, therefore reducing the risk of poisoning. Amanita Muscaria’s active components consist of ibotenic acid and muscimol, both of which are psychoactive. It’s important to know that this mushroom contains neither psilocybin nor psilocin.

However, when exposed to heat, acidic conditions, or high pressure, ibotenic acid undergoes a chemical process known as decarboxylation, resulting in the formation of muscimol. Muscimol is regarded as safer than ibotenic acid and is mostly used for relaxing. In large dosages, it works as a sedative, and many people report having vivid dreams and visions when under its effect.


Muscimol is a potent psychoactive substance found in various mushroom species of the Amanita genus. Unlike psilocybin, which is a type of tryptamine, muscimol acts strongly on the GABAA receptor as an agonist. It’s believed to be up to five times more potent than ibotenic acid, which converts to muscimol through a simple chemical process called decarboxylation.

The effects of muscimol typically begin about an hour after ingestion, peak around three hours later, and may last for a total of 10 to 24 hours. People often describe feelings of euphoria, a dreamlike or lucid state of mind, encounters that feel out-of-body, and synesthesia while under its influence. However, muscimol can also have side effects such as mild to moderate nausea, stomach pain, increased salivation, and muscle twitching or trembling. Higher doses may lead to strong dissociation or delirium and even death.

Ibotenic Acid

Similar to muscimol, ibotenic acid is a naturally occurring compound found in Amanita Muscaria and other Amanita species. Ibotenic acid acts as a prodrug of muscimol, meaning that when it undergoes decarboxylation, it transforms into muscimol.

Structurally resembling the neurotransmitter glutamate, ibotenic acid functions as a non-selective agonist of glutamate receptors. In high doses, it can be a potent neurotoxin and is even used as a “brain-lesioning agent” in scientific studies. Unlike muscimol, which induces sedation and delirium, the psychoactive effects of ibotenic acid without its conversion into muscimol are not well understood. There are speculations that it could potentially act as a stimulant while also being neurotoxic and dangerous.

What are Psilocybin Mushrooms?

psilocybin mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms, magic mushrooms, or simply shrooms are a category of mushrooms that contain naturally occurring compounds known as psilocybin and psilocin. After ingesting, psilocybin is metabolized to psilocin which is responsible for its well-known psychedelic effects.
Much like Amanita Muscaria, psilocybin-containing fungi have a long history of use in traditional cultures due to their potent hallucinogenic effects. However, with a much higher safety profile, it’s practically impossible to overdose on this substance.
Upon ingestion, psilocybin affects the serotonin system, leading to changes in perception such as closed-eye hallucinations, visual distortions, and altered experiences of reality. It can also induce feelings of euphoria, mental clarity, and spiritual insight. The effects typically last for 4-6 hours.

Amanita Muscaria vs Psilocybin – Comparison Of the Effects

Describing the sensation of a psychedelic journey can be quite challenging. Each trip is heavily impacted by an individual, resulting in a unique experience each time. When comparing Magic Mushrooms to the Amanita Muscaria, an Amanita trip is often milder, and psychoactive in its own way.

Tripping on Psilocybin Mushrooms is an all-encompassing journey in which one’s view of the mind, body, and environment changes significantly. Trips can last from 4 to 6 hours and can involve a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. Typically people experience visual hallucinations followed by vivid patterns and colors, strange bodily sensations, and an overall pleasurable experience if in the correct set and setting. It’s also not uncommon to experience life-changing mystical experiences with high doses of psilocybin.

On the other hand, the active ingredient in Amanita Muscaria, muscimol, induces feelings of euphoria, alters perception, and creates visual distortions. Muscimol, much like alcohol, affects the GABA receptors in our brains, causing some to characterize the feeling of tripping on Amanita Mushrooms as moderate drunkenness with visual hallucinations. In addition, Muscimol differs from Psilocybin in its sedative characteristics, which can often result in vivid and strange dreams, or as some call them “visions.”

Amanita Muscaria vs Psilocybin – Legal Differences

Psilocybin, found in the Psilocybe mushroom species, is classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of the United States. This categorization makes Psilocybe mushrooms unlawful to grow, possess, or use. While several states, like Colorado and Oregon, have legalized or decriminalized magic mushrooms, psilocybin remains illegal on the federal level.

In contrast, Amanita muscaria mushrooms containing muscimol are mostly unregulated. Muscimol is not listed as a scheduled substance by the DEA, hence it is legal to sell and distribute across the country at the federal level. Amanita muscaria-derived products containing muscimol are widely accessible online and in most states, except for Louisiana, where all hallucinogenic plants and substances are prohibited.

Does this Make Amanita Safer Than Psilocybin?

Well, not really. While Amanita Muscaria and products from this fungi are legal in most places it doesn’t make it safer than mushrooms containing psilocybin. Simply because one substance is federally legal doesn’t make it safer. Take a look at tobacco for example, according to Research Gate, psilocybin has 0-1 deaths per 100.000 consumers while Tobacco is in the range of 800-1200. Keep in mind that Amanita muscaria is indeed a toxic mushroom, and without proper knowledge and preparation, it can easily lead to hospitalization.

Final Word

The world of psychedelic mushrooms is broad and fascinating, with a diverse range of species and substances. From the classic Amanita muscaria with its distinct red cap to the many varieties of Psilocybe mushrooms, each provides a unique psychedelic experience.

However, understanding the differences between these two mushroom species is important for anyone who wants to explore the realms of psychedelics. Incorrectly identifying mushrooms can lead to poisoning, as some species can be toxic. For this reason, it’s best to choose a reputable supplier of mushroom products that will satisfy your needs, such as Mama’s Journey Caps.

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