There is a growing body of literature on how to microdose Amanita muscaria. Anecdotal reports suggest there are numerous benefits, although there is currently little clinical evidence to back these claims. In this guide, we explain why people engage in the practice, the differences between microdosing and macrodosing, and the science behind why it might work.
Why Microdose Amanita Muscaria?
The term “microdosing” describes regularly taking tiny, usually subperceptible doses of a substance. It usually refers to a psychedelic drug, such as magic mushrooms or LSD. However, in recent years, the practice of microdosing Amanita muscaria (AM) has also become more popular.
Since 2022, three separate books have been published on the subject. These include Baba Masha’s Microdosing with Amanita Muscaria, Harret and Sasha’s Amanita Muscaria Microdosing, and Amanita Dreamer’s Dosing Amanita Muscaria.
According to these books and numerous online reports, microdosing AM has many advantages. The rationale is that the amounts taken are large enough to imbue benefits but not large enough to cause significant changes in perception or interfere with one’s ability to carry out routine tasks.
A microdose is often approximately 1/10 of a full “macrodose.” However, some people use slightly less or more than this, and it often takes some experimentation to find the optimal amount.
The effects gained from microdosing amanita depend on the individual using it, the dosage, and how the mushrooms were prepared. It appears that time of day is also an important factor in determining the effects of a microdose. This is due to AM’s unique active chemicals: ibotenic acid and muscimol.
Ibotenic acid acts upon glutamate receptors and has stimulating effects. However, it is neurotoxic in high doses, and many people prefer to avoid consuming it. When AM mushrooms are prepared in a specific way, ibotenic acid converts to muscimol, which acts upon GABA receptors and has relaxing effects. Moreover, it is considered far safer for consumption than ibotenic acid.
Microdosing in the Morning
Those who advocate microdosing AM in the morning cite benefits such as increased wakefulness, alertness, and energy. In these cases, people usually consume dried mushrooms that contain some ibotenic acid and some muscimol.
It is a controversial practice due to ibotenic acid’s potentially harmful effects. Proponents insist that small amounts of the chemical are safe and they do not experience any negative effects. However, the fact is that we still know very little about how small doses of orally consumed ibotenic acid affect the brain.
For this reason, anyone considering consuming dried amanita should exercise extreme caution. Start with a tiny amount – a piece the size of a thumbnail or less – and work up steadily from there. Because the long-term effects of microdosing ibotenic acid are unknown, it may be best to view this as an occasional practice and take regular breaks between doses.
Microdosing in the Evening
Those who microdose AM in the evening say that they experience increased relaxation and improved sleep. In these cases, people tend to use mushrooms that have been prepared by decarboxylation to contain as much muscimol and as little ibotenic acid as possible.
It is considered safer than using mushrooms with ibotenic acid, but nevertheless, its long-term safety has not been thoroughly investigated. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid microdosing daily for extended periods, regardless of the method.
Amanita Microdosing Study
There has not yet been an official study on microdosing AM. However, a 2023 survey investigated the most common reasons, consumption methods, and side effects associated with AM use of any amount.
It found that the main reasons for use were:
- Skin problems
- Depressive symptoms
The most common consumption methods were tinctures and dried mushrooms, with side effects including:
- Abdominal pain
It is worth noting that it is unclear how many of these reports related to microdosing.
Another valuable source of information is Baba Masha’s book, Microdosing with Amanita Muscaria. It contains hundreds of different reports from individuals who filled in a 107-item questionnaire on the subject. The book is a valuable source of information on the practice of microdosing AM and is recommended reading for anyone interested in the subject.
Depression, Lack of Energy, and AM Microdosing
One of the top reasons for microdosing amanita is to relieve the symptoms of depression, including anxiety, insomnia, and lack of energy. Some even claim that this mushroom has helped them to wean themselves off antidepressant drugs.
There is no clinical research on amanita for depression or the substitution of antidepressants with AM microdosing. However, there is some evidence that suggests GABA and glutamate dysfunction is implicated in this common condition.
Some experts believe that deficits in inhibitory and excitatory nerve cells are key to the development of depression. This might explain why ketamine, a glutamate receptor antagonist, is emerging as an effective treatment. It increases glutamate levels in the brain and has fast-acting antidepressant effects.
Meanwhile, benzodiazepines, which are frequently prescribed for anxiety, act upon GABA-A receptors in the brain. Unfortunately, their addictive nature and high risk of side effects means benzodiazepines are unsuitable for long-term use.
AM contains ibotenic acid and muscimol, which affect the glutamate and GABA systems respectively. Therefore, it makes sense that microdosing this mushroom might influence depression.
Anecdotal reports suggest that reduced anxiety and increased energy are among its most significant effects. However, far more research is necessary to confirm how effective it is as a treatment for depression and whether it is safe for long-term use.
Microdosing AM for Mood Enhancement
Even those who are not living with depression may benefit from AM’s potentially mood-enhancing effects. Many regular users cite benefits such as an increased sense of general well-being, a greater appreciation of nature, and enhanced meditation and mindfulness practices.
Whether it is a good idea to use an under-studied and potentially dangerous mushroom regularly is up for debate. However, many claim that it has played a crucial role in their self-development process and did not have ill effects for them.
AM Microdosing as a Sleep Aid
Insomnia is one of the most common reasons for microdosing AM. There is no clinical research on the topic, but since muscimol has a similar structure to GABA, it makes sense that it should have calming, sedative effects.
GABA is known to reduce stress and enhance sleep, and drugs such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates work by affecting the GABA system. They bind with GABA-A receptors, the same receptors that muscimol acts upon.
Those who take AM as a sleep aid report falling asleep quickly and having a deep and restful sleep, often with vivid dreams. Many also describe having increased energy and an overall positive mood the following day.
Autism and AM Microdosing
There is some evidence to support the theory that abnormal glutamate and GABA signaling are involved in autism. It seems that an imbalance in the glutamate and GABA systems may underlie many of the behavioral characteristics of autism. This is known as the “excitatory/inhibitory imbalance hypothesis.”
For example, human studies have shown that autistic people have reduced concentrations of glutamate in specific brain regions compared to non-autistic controls. Interestingly, these deficits appear to correlate with the severity of social symptoms.
Meanwhile, animal studies have shown that the GABA-A receptor agonist gaboxadol helped to reduce some autistic-like traits, including anxiety, repetitive behaviors, hyperactivity, and aggression. This drug has a very similar mechanism of action to muscimol.
Far more research is required to confirm whether microdosing AM might have similar benefits. However, it is a fascinating area of study and, if proven, could be revolutionary in the understanding of autism.
Arthritis and AM Microdosing
There is no research specifically on microdosing AM and arthritis. However, anecdotal reports suggest it may help. Furthermore, a 2004 study showed that muscimol produced dose-dependent improvements in the gait of arthritic rats.
These benefits potentially stem from muscimol’s similarities with GABA. For example, the GABA system has been implicated in the development and progression of autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. The neurotransmitter appears to have both anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and may also be involved in immune system regulation.
It seems that immune cells can synthesize and release GABA and that this could modulate the activity of pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. Some have suggested that this “crosstalk” between the nervous and immune systems could be involved in the development of various inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Alcohol Addiction and AM Microdosing
Alcohol dependence is another common reason why people turn to microdosing AM. Anecdotal reports suggest it may also be useful in the treatment of several other substance use disorders, although this is not as well-documented.
Alcohol acts upon GABA-A receptors, and heavy use reduces their activity, leading to tolerance. GABA-A receptors in a brain region known as the ventral tegmental area (VTA) also influence dopamine levels. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved in the reward response and is implicated in many different addictions.
Drugs targetting GABA-A receptors are frequently used to address the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, such as anxiety. Muscimol is a GABA-A agonist and, therefore, may be used similarly. Moreover, research has shown that muscimol infusion directly into the VTA increases dopamine levels in a dose-dependent manner. This might help to ease cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.
AM Microdosing: Overall Opinion
Because there is so little research on the subject, it is hard to form an overall opinion on the ideal AM microdosing course.
The most effective dosage and duration will depend upon individual biochemistry and the reason for microdosing, as well as when and where the mushrooms were harvested and how they were prepared. Furthermore, each batch will vary in potency, meaning that a new dosage must be carefully ascertained each time.
It is recommended that those microdosing with dried mushrooms grind them to a powder to create a homogenous mix of mushrooms. This is important for consistent dosing as each mushroom can differ significantly in terms of potency.
Those using amanita tea can calculate their dosage by dividing how many grams of dried mushrooms they use by the resulting amount of liquid. For example, using 20g of mushrooms to create 200ml of tea will result in a potency of 0.1g per ml (1g per 10ml).
According to Baba Masha’s book, most of the individuals surveyed found the optimal dose to be 0.5-2 grams of dried AM. Most individuals microdosed once daily for up to a month before taking a break of up to 10 days to assess their condition after the AM microdose course.
Some individuals experienced withdrawal symptoms after their AM course, including mood imbalance and insomnia. The author concluded that this was usually due to “abuse and violation of the optimal AM microdosage.”
Why Not Macrodose Amanita?
Macrodosing AM involves taking amounts large enough to produce significant psychoactive effects. Some say that they have macrodosed AM with positive outcomes, but the risk of adverse physical and mental effects is greatly increased in comparison with microdosing.
Please note that this section has been moved lower down in the article as per LMM's suggestion.
How Much Is a Macrodose?
The amount that constitutes a macrodose varies depending on individual biochemistry, the potency of the mushrooms, and the preparation method. It is impossible to give an accurate figure, but some reports suggest that doses in the region of 10-15g produce significant effects.
It is inadvisable to macrodose AM without ample experience with the mushroom and with psychedelics in general. Even seasoned users should start with a low dose and gradually titrate upwards to an amount that produces the desired effects without causing a negative reaction.
It is also crucial to pay attention to set and setting, stay in a safe environment, and avoid dangerous activities while macrodosing AM. Having a sober “trip sitter” present is one way to minimize the risks associated with the practice. Being aware of the possible negative effects of macrodosing is also essential.
What Are the Negative Effects of Macrodosing?
Macrodosing AM is unpredictable, and the effects could be extremely unpleasant. These include uncomfortable physical and mental experiences, which we will describe in detail below. High doses of AM also increase the risk of muscarine toxicity, another reason they should be approached with extreme caution.
Unpleasant Mental Experience
Unpleasant mental effects include frightening hallucinations, such as time loops or repetitive thoughts. Some users have also reported out-of-body experiences and the sensation of dying or being dead. High doses of AM can also have dissociative effects, leading to a sense of derealization or depersonalization. These feelings can cause intense anxiety, fear, or panic.
Unpleasant Physical Experience
High AM doses can also cause users to put themselves in physical danger due to the mushroom’s psychoactive effects. People might experience a disconnection from their bodies, leading them to act in an uncontrolled and harmful manner.
Furthermore, AM can cause unpleasant physical effects, including the following:
- Muscle twitches
- Excess salivation
Finally, ibotenic acid is neurotoxic in high doses. It has been used in animal studies to create brain lesions similar to those seen in neurodegenerative diseases. Its effects when taken orally by humans are still unclear. However, ingesting large amounts of this substance is likely to significantly increase the risk of long-term damage.
The Risk of Muscarine Toxicity
AM mushrooms contain the centrally acting chemical muscarine, albeit in tiny amounts. However, high enough doses could be sufficient to cause muscarine toxicity.
This chemical acts upon acetylcholine receptors in the brain to induce symptoms such as sweating, excess salivation, and tearing. It could also cause gastrointestinal side effects, including nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Large amounts of muscarine can cause a decreased heart rate and low blood pressure and, in extremely high doses, could be fatal.
The Bottom Line on Microdosing Amanita
Microdosing AM is becoming more mainstream, meaning it is essential to understand its potential effects. It is undoubtedly safer than taking macrodoses of this powerful mushroom, but little is known about its long-term impact on health.
Anyone considering microdosing AM should research the subject thoroughly and carefully weigh the benefits against the risks. Furthermore, it is critical to approach dosing with caution as it is highly individual, and each mushroom varies greatly in the strength of its active compounds.
Using well-prepared amanita extracts or commercial products like amanita gummies is one way to ensure a consistent dosage and minimize the risk of side effects. It is also wise to start with a tiny amount (0.5g or less) and increase gradually from there until you find the minimal effective dose.
- Baba Masha, (2022) Microdosing with Amanita Muscaria. Park Street Press: Rochester, Vermont, USA.
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