What does amanita muscaria do?

Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita, is one of the most recognizable mushrooms in the world, thanks to its bright red cap with white spots. This iconic fungus has a deep-rooted place in folklore, mythology, and even modern pop culture. Beyond its striking appearance and cultural significance, Amanita muscaria is renowned for its psychoactive properties, which have been both revered and feared throughout history. This article explores the effects of Amanita muscaria on the human body, its historical uses, and the scientific mechanisms behind its impact.

Psychoactive Effects of Amanita

Amanita muscaria contains several psychoactive compounds, the most prominent of which are muscimol and ibotenic acid. Unlike psilocybin mushrooms, which contain the psychedelic compound psilocybin, the psychoactive substances in Amanita muscaria interact with the brain’s neurotransmitters in a different way. Muscimol, the primary psychoactive compound after the mushroom is metabolized, acts on the GABA receptors in the brain. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, and its modulation by muscimol can lead to altered states of consciousness.

The effects of consuming Amanita muscaria can vary widely among individuals, but they generally include a mix of physical and psychological experiences. Users may experience euphoria, visual and auditory hallucinations, a sense of peace and connectedness, and altered perception of space and time. However, the experience can also include negative effects such as nausea, confusion, muscle twitching, and in some cases, fear and panic.

Historical and Cultural Significance of Amanita

The use of Amanita muscaria dates back centuries and spans across various cultures around the world. In Siberian shamanic traditions, it was used for religious and spiritual purposes, where shamans consumed the mushroom to enter altered states of consciousness for divination and healing practices. There are also theories suggesting its use in the Viking era as a berserker mushroom, possibly consumed by warriors to induce a fearless and frenzied state in battle, although these claims are debated among historians.

The mushroom has also found its way into folklore and literature, with some theories suggesting it influenced the imagery in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and is represented in various Christmas traditions and decorations.

Scientific Perspective of Amanita

From a scientific standpoint, the interest in Amanita muscaria revolves around understanding its psychoactive compounds and their effects on the human brain. Research into muscimol and ibotenic acid has contributed to a broader understanding of neurotransmitter systems, particularly the GABAergic system, and how it influences consciousness and behavior.

Safety and Legality of Amanita

It’s important to note that while Amanita muscaria is not classified as an illegal drug in many countries, its consumption can be dangerous. The effects of the mushroom are unpredictable and can vary greatly depending on the dose, the individual’s body chemistry, and the specific mushroom specimen. There have been reports of poisoning and hospitalizations due to incorrect identification, improper preparation, and overconsumption.


Amanita muscaria is a mushroom that fascinates with its iconic appearance, historical significance, and psychoactive properties. While it has been a part of human culture and spirituality for centuries, it also poses risks that should not be underestimated. As with any psychoactive substance, knowledge, caution, and respect for its power are paramount. If you interested to learn more about amanita muscaria make sure to visit website. The continued study of Amanita muscaria and its compounds offers valuable insights into the complex relationship between plants, consciousness, and culture.

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