Amanita muscaria mushrooms are becoming increasingly well-known for their psychoactive effects.
In low doses, they can produce mild stimulation or relaxation, depending on how they have been prepared. Higher doses can lead to a dissociative, dream-like state that some people might describe as a “trip.”
Here’s what to expect from an Amanita muscaria trip and how to prepare for one.
What to Expect From an Amanita Muscaria Trip
Amanita muscaria mushrooms, sometimes known as fly agaric, do not contain psilocybin. Therefore, anyone taking them with the hopes of experiencing effects akin to psilocybin-containing “magic” mushrooms may be disappointed.
Amanita muscaria does have psychoactive properties, and high doses could result in a mind-altering trip. However, the experience is best described as dissociative rather than psychedelic.
The mushrooms contain two primary active compounds, ibotenic acid and muscimol. The ratio of these compounds varies depending on whether the mushrooms are fresh or dried and how they are prepared.
Fresh Amanita muscaria mushrooms are rich in ibotenic acid, which has a similar chemical structure to the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. It binds with glutamate receptors known as NMDA receptors, and anecdotal reports suggest it has stimulating, energizing effects.
However, ibotenic acid is a known neurotoxin, and many believe it is responsible for the unpleasant side effects associated with consuming raw Amanita muscaria mushrooms. Therefore, most experts recommend preparing the mushrooms before consumption.
Exposing Amanita muscaria to heat and acidic conditions converts the ibotenic acid in it to muscimol which has a similar chemical structure to the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA and binds with GABA-A receptors, producing relaxant effects. Muscimol is generally considered far safer to consume than ibotenic acid and less likely to cause adverse effects.
Because ibotenic acid and muscimol have opposite effects, how the mushrooms are prepared will significantly impact the nature of the experience. However, some of amanita’s common effects include:
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Increased sense of introspection
- Distorted sense of reality
- Time loops or repetitive thoughts
- Rapid shifts between positive and negative moods
- A feeling of dying, being dead, or visiting the afterlife
- Out-of-body experiences
- Feelings of deep spirituality
- Inability to stay awake
- Vivid or lucid dreams
How to Prepare for Your First Amanita Muscaria Trip
Many of the purported benefits of the fly agaric mushroom are associated with microdosing. This involves taking sub-perceptual doses according to a specific schedule for a set amount of time.
Microdosing Amanita muscaria should not cause significant mind-altering effects and requires minimal preparation. However, those wishing to take larger amounts and embark on an Amanita muscaria trip should consider the following:
The type of experience that one can expect from Amanita muscaria relies heavily on the preparation method.
As mentioned above, exposing the mushrooms to heat and acidic conditions converts ibotenic acid into muscimol. This reaction is called decarboxylation, and it alters the mushroom’s effects significantly.
The first stage of decarboxylation involves drying the mushrooms at 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) to begin the reaction. Dried mushrooms will contain a combination of ibotenic acid and muscimol, meaning their effects can be variable.
Some people enjoy the effects of ibotenic acid and are happy to use dried Amanita muscaria mushrooms as they are. Others are wary of the neurotoxic chemical or do not enjoy its effects.
These individuals prefer to complete the conversion to muscimol using the low pH simmer method. This involves simmering the mushrooms for up to three hours in water and using lemon juice or citric acid to reduce the pH to between 2.5 and 3.
Mushrooms prepared using the low pH simmer method will contain less ibotenic acid and more muscimol, with complete decarboxylation achieved after a full three-hour simmer.
Whichever preparation method is used, understanding dosage is key to a positive Amanita muscaria experience.
However, to say these mushrooms are unpredictable is a massive understatement. Not only can each specimen vary greatly in potency, but every individual can react very differently to their active compounds.
Some people report intense effects after consuming just a few dried grams of Amanita muscaria, while others report taking large amounts and feeling very little. Therefore, it is essential to become familiar with the mushroom before experimenting with high doses.
The best way to do this is to make a homogenous mixture using as many mushrooms as possible, either by grinding dried mushrooms to powder and mixing well or making a large batch of tea using the low pH simmer method. This will eliminate the variable of some mushrooms being more potent than others.
Experienced users recommend starting with a minimal dose of 0.5 dried grams and working gradually upward from there. Once an individual feels comfortable with the mushroom and its unique effects, they may feel ready to go on a more intense journey.
However, there are still several other factors to consider to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Set and Setting
The term “set and setting” is used in the field of psychedelic medicine to describe one’s mindset before ingesting a substance and the physical environment in which one chooses to do so. These factors can significantly influence the overall experience, and giving them adequate consideration can increase safety and reduce the risk of unpleasant effects.
Many describe Amanita muscaria trips as being spiritual rather than recreational, and they can be frightening or challenging in some other way. Therefore, anyone looking for a good time may be better served by a different substance.
It is best to engage with this mushroom while in a positive state of mind and avoid situations that are likely to cause anxiety. It is advisable to stay home so you have full control of your surroundings, easy access to a bathroom, and can be as comfortable as possible.
Before ingestion, it may be helpful to set a clear intention for the experience. Select some music you will find relaxing and gather the items you might need, such as water, blankets, and pillows. You might also consider doing some deep breathing or meditation to help you settle in before ingestion.
Using a Sitter
It is recommended that those taking large doses of any substance have a sober person present to offer support and reassurance, as well as keep them physically safe. This is particularly important with Amanita muscaria, as it can cause dissociation between the mind and body, and those using it may unknowingly put themselves in harmful situations.
The “sitter” should be an open-minded individual, preferably with some personal experience of the substance themselves. They should have a calm demeanor and the ability to offer support if necessary without interfering with the experience.
A professional trip-sitter or psychedelic coach is an ideal candidate, although a trusted friend or relative is another option if this is not available.
Mixing Amanita with Other Substances
It is not generally advisable to take Amanita muscaria at the same time as other psychoactive substances. It is considered particularly dangerous to mix it with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or barbiturates. These substances have a similar mechanism of action to muscimol and could amplify its effects, leading to respiratory depression.
Integrating Your Trip
An Amanita muscaria trip can be a valuable learning experience, but it is essential to integrate these lessons to benefit from them fully. Take some time after the trip to reflect on the experience and its meaning. It might be helpful to journal about it or discuss it with friends.
Psychedelic integration circles are another excellent option for open and non-judgmental discussion following a trip. Integration coaches can also be employed to help with the process.
Final Thoughts on Preparing for an Amanita Muscaria Trip
While the effects of Amanita muscaria are unlike those of psilocybin or other psychedelics, the mushroom does have powerful psychoactive effects, and it is wise to prepare adequately before consuming high doses.
Some essential considerations include preparation and dosage, set and setting, enlisting a sitter, avoiding other substances, and integrating the experience afterward.
If you are looking for consistent results, it is best to choose products from reputable suppliers like VidaCap. While our amanita gummies contain a low dose of Amanita muscaria extract, they are an ideal introduction to the mushroom and its unique effects. Moreover, they are carefully prepared to maximize their muscimol content and independently lab-tested for potency and purity, so you know what you’re getting in each one.
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