- Amanita Muscaria Intro
- Microdosing Intro
- Psychedelics vs Amanita Muscaria
- Why Microdose Amanita Muscaria?
- How To:
- (1) How to Obtain
- (2) How Much
- (3) Time of Day
- (4) How Often
- (5) For How Long
- (6) Check in with Yourself
- Microdosing Tips
- Final Thoughts
Amanita Muscaria Intro
Amanita muscaria (Amanita) has one of the longest history of use of any psychoactive substance. Ever since us humans have lived amongst the trees that Amanita grow under, we have been enamored with its beauty and consumed it. Some estimates claim we used Amanita for 10,000 years before alcohol was discovered.
Amanita has such cultural significance it has ties to Alice in Wonderland, Mario, Christmas, Christianity, Hinduism, and even the Holy Grail.
Though most information on the historical use of Amanita muscaria was lost with time, recent research, internet chat rooms, and brave explorers have been able to piece back together how to safely use this mushroom.
This guide is an attempt to pull that information into one page. To lay out an easy to follow framework on how to properly identify, store, prepare, microdose and integrate the amazing experience one can obtain from microdosing Amanita muscaria.
Ultimately though, I hope this guide helps us reform the relationship we once had with this sacred mushroom. To help us more easily access the wisdom and enlightenment that lies within our forests.
You’ve probably heard about microdosing from the recent psychedelic microdosing movement. Everything from psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, mescaline and even DMT have gained a microdosing following within the past 10 years.
Though Amanita is often called a “magic” mushroom, it is not a psychedelic.
It's true, in high amounts, Amanita can cause visual distortions and changes in color perception, akin to psychedelics. However, its method of action and world of effects is entirely unique to itself.
Psychedelics act on the 5HT2A serotonin receptors in the brain and body. When activated, they allow more sensory information into the brain which allow people to feel more connected to the world around them. In essence psychedelics help open up people's minds.
In contrast, Amanita muscaria contains muscimol, an entirely different molecule from psychedelics, which acts on GABA neurons. GABA is responsible for quieting an overactive mind and bringing balance to the nervous system. In doing so, when people consume Amanita, they often feel relaxed and at peace with themselves and the world around them.
Lastly, people build a tolerance to psychedelics very quickly. Many psychedelic guides will encourage breaks every few days so you can continue to feel effects. Amanita, on the other hand, seems to have a reverse tolerance. The more you take it, the more effects you feel.
Unfortunately, these differences mean we can't rely on psychedelic microdosing guides for Amanita muscaria.
TLDR: Amanita is a unique mushroom. It’s method of action in the brain, the way it makes you feel and the way it changes your thought patterns are all one of a kind.
Why Microdose Amanita Muscaria?
Like psychedelics, Amanita muscaria has the potential to help heal people's mind, body and spirit. Those of us with anxiety, trouble sleeping or low self esteem tend to see the most benefits with this mushroom.
Though sometimes macrodosed (taken in large amounts), the most benefits from Amanita muscaria can be obtained when microdosed.
Macrodosing experiences are often overwhelming, unpredictable and dream-like, where once the user wakes up - they struggle to recall the lessons they learned. With microdosing, you can gain the lessons Amanita has to offer while also feeling supported with a "warm" and "comforting" energy.
Additionally, with microdosing, you can consciously experience Amanita's unique world of effects.
The most common effects from microdosing Amanita muscaria include:
- gaining a rush of energy
- mood boost
- greater feeling of well-being
- feeling calm and relaxed
- reduction of anxiety (10)
- reduction of a mental chatterbox
- falling asleep easily
- having realistic and fantastical dreams
- lucid dreaming
- waking up feeling well rested & lively
There have also been numerous studies looking into the benefits of muscimol (the active molecule in Amanita muscaria) and have found it to have some interesting medicinal benefits.
Physical health benefits of muscimol:
- reduce inflammation (5)
- enhance memory (6)
- reduce Parkinson's symptoms (7)
- reduce Alzheimer symptoms (8)
- neuroprotective properties (9)
Beyond scientific studies, anecdotal reports claim Amanita helps bring spirituality and significance into their lives - even for those that don't claim to be religious.
Spiritual Benefits Of Amanita muscaria include:
- enhanced intuition
- higher levels of consciousness
- increased self-awareness
- feeling more centered and at peace
- easier ability reaching states of meditation
- ability to notice coincidences that occur everyday
- gaining meaning to life
Most information about the benefits of microdosing Amanita muscaria come from a 5,900 person study done in Russia. It was led by a doctor under the pseudonym “Baba Masha” and ran for 2 years. Its purpose was to accumulate data on the most commonly experienced effects of microdosing Amanita muscaria and then poll how many of the participants did or did not experience a benefit. (13)
Some of the most surprising results from the study included:
- Overall opinion after microdosing Amanita:
- 92% positive results, 2% negative results
- Help with depression, lack of energy:
- 79% positive results, 3% negative results
- Mood enhancer:
- 88% had more energy and liveliness, 12% had more sleepiness
- 63% positive, 37% no change
- Sleep aid:
- 73% improved sleep, 10% had insomnia
Read more: "Why Microdose Amanita muscaria?"
Beyond the study, Amanita has also been touted as a natural treatment for insomnia. When taken in the evening, people report feeling relaxed and more easily called into bed.
In fact, researchers have known about Amanita’s ability to help people fall asleep for some time, and attempted to make a similar, patentable, drug called gabaxdol in 2007. Their studies showed that gabaxadol allowed people to fall into a deeper sleep when taken before bed.
Arguably, anything that can help heal your mind, body and spirit, is quite a miracle. No doubt, if any of the claims are true, Amanita muscaria is at least worth looking into further, or trying for yourself.
(1) How to Obtain
The good news about Amanita muscaria is that it is legal in the US (except Louisiana - sorry Louisianans). Unlike psychedelics, which became illegal under the controlled substance act of 1970, Amanita muscaria did not become scheduled in the US. Most likely because it was not being discussed by the American public when this law went into effect.
If you don’t live within the United States, there is still a good chance it is legal where you live. You will need to check up on your local laws, but from quick research, Amanita muscaria looks to be legal everywhere except the Netherlands, Australia, Thailand and Romania.
Read more: Where is Amanita muscaria legal?
Once you've confirmed it's legal where you live, you're going to need to obtain some Amanita muscaria. You have three main options:
A. Forage Yourself
- Where to find
Though many wish to grow Amanita muscaria in the comfort of their own home, it just isn't possible. They require a symbiotic relationship with trees to survive. This is because they are a mycorrhizal species of fungi (unlike psilocybe mushrooms which are saprophytic). Because of this, Amanita must be connected to the roots of trees in order to fruit. Many attempts have been made to farm Amanita, but so far none have been successful.
Instead they must be foraged from nature.
Though they have become popular to forage in Northern Europe and Russia, Amanita grows abundantly in the United States, and even in South America. In the US, they can be found under deciduous or coniferous trees, though they seem to prefer pines.
- How to Identify
- a vulva (or bulb) at the base of the mushroom,
- red to orange colored cap
- warts (spots) on the cap - which ensures you aren’t picking a deadly amanita phalloides mushroom,
- an annulus (or skirt) around the stipe of the mushroom.
- How to Store
- dry them on a low heat (below 120 F) until cracker dry.
- package in a sealed container
- keep them in a cool (or cold), dry and dark place
It’s normal to feel a little nervous about foraging for the first time, especially since we’ve all been told since childhood that mushrooms are toxic.
You can always buy a amatoxin test kit from a website like https://amatoxtest.com to confirm you didn’t pick any deadly amanitas. You can also leave foraging for those that have experience and buy from a vendor online.
2. Buy already foraged Amanita from an online vendor
You can also buy from a trusted online vendor. This is a great option if you are out of the mushroom season, don't live near their habitat, or prefer an easier option.
There’s a few things to keep in mind when buying online:
- Most dried mushroom caps that are sold online are from Russia or Ukraine. This is because they have a longer history of foraging for these mushrooms and with lower wages, the mushrooms are cheaper for vendors to buy. Studies do show that Amanita muscaria mushrooms contain the same active molecules no matter where they are from. That said, purchasing foraged mushrooms from around the world is not a very sustainable option, especially if they grow readily in your country.
- Be aware that Amanita is a well known bioaccumulator. (11) Make sure the mushrooms were harvested in a clean forest, away from mines, nuclear waste sites and busy roads.
- Bioacculumator = the accumulation over time of a substance and especially a contaminant (such as a pesticide or heavy metal) in a living organism.
- Ensure the caps you buy look like Amanita muscaria. The caps should be 1-6" in diameter, golden orange to reddish in color, have white spots on the cap and gills underneath. If you are unsure, don't use.
3. Buy already decarboxylated Amanita from a Trusted Vendor
If you don’t want to risk picking the wrong mushrooms or stinking up your house boiling mushrooms for hours, you can also buy pre-decarboxylated products online. Just make sure you look out for a few things.
- Do buy products from the most recent harvest. Muscimol (the active chemical in Amanita muscaria) is shelf stable for around 6 months and anything that is over a year old (dried caps or tinctures) will likely not be very potent. It’s also a good idea to buy from vendors who freeze their caps, as that is the best way to preserve the potency of muscimol past harvest season.
- Do buy from vendors that have a return policy. It’s a good idea to buy from vendors that guarantee the quality of their products and are willing to risk people abusing a return policy. Protect yourself from vendors selling bogus products.
- Do consider your morals. As more companies hit the Amanita muscaria scene, consider what kind of business you would like to support. Would you like to support one that’s interested in monopolizing the mushroom or would you like to support a small business who forages all their mushrooms by hand. Also consider the environmental considerations the company has. The most important vote we place everyday is where we spend our coin. When you buy a product, you vote for the things the business stands behind. Vote wisely.
- Don’t buy from anyone selling Amanita as if it's a psychedelic. These sellers have been popping up quite a bit in the last fews years due to the illegality and recent popularity of psychedelics. Amanita is not a psychedelic and anyone claiming otherwise is trying to profit off of mislabeling their products. If they can't be honest about what they are selling, how can you trust what's in their products? Many of these products have actually been found to contain unlisted amounts of delta-8, muscarine or synthetic psychedelics - none of which are chemicals you want to consume regularly.
- Don't buy lab made chemicals. Because Amanita muscaria cannot be grown and is difficult to obtain, many vendors who want in on the “mushroom money” will buy lab chemicals from overseas and then sell them in a product (often a gummy) labeled "Amanita muscaria mushrooms". These sellers will often list "muscimol and ibotenic acid" in their ingredients instead of "Amanita muscaria extract". The magic and healing nature of Amanita lies in the complex chemistry and mycorrhizal connection they form with trees. Additionally, humans have tens of thousands of years of safe consumption of Amanita mushrooms, not these lab made chemicals.
- Don't buy from opaque sellers. Look for transparency. If the seller is not forthright about when or where the mushrooms were harvested, how they were processed or have a lack of communication, that's a red flag. It's your body, you should be comfortable with what you are buying and consuming.
To Decarboxylate or Not to Decarboxylate the Mushrooms?
Once you start looking into where and how to obtain Amanita muscaria mushrooms, you’re going to come across the question as to whether or not you want them decarboxylated.
Decarboxylation is a simple chemical reaction that results in the loss of a carboxylic acid group on a chemical structure which creates a new chemical.
Amanita muscaria mushrooms contain two main chemicals: ibotenic acid and muscimol. When freshly picked, the mushrooms contain mostly ibotenic acid, and very little muscimol. However, when dried and boiled in a low pH bath, or when fermented, the ibotenic acid is converted into muscimol, and the brew is safe to drink.
But, why would you want to decarboxylate Amanita muscaria?
Reports of people eating raw Amanita mushrooms are often met with unpleasant side effects like nausea and overall body discomfort. However, with properly prepared mushrooms, there are little to no side effects and the reports are often positive.
Additionally, research on ibotenic acid is a bit concerning, especially when compared to muscimol.
Ibotenic acid has excitatory effect in the brain. This is because it acts as an agonist towards NMDA receptors. NMDA is responsible for activating neurons in the brain, to help strengthen synapses and form memories. (1)
The problem with ibotenic acid is that "excessive activation of glutamate receptors may excite nerve cells to their death in a process now referred to as “excitotoxicity”(4). Because ibotenic acid is able to pass the blood brain barrier, (12) there is always a risk when consuming mushrooms that contain it.
There are some who argue that ibotenic acid has its own psychoactive effects (separate from muscimol's) and that it is the reason people feel energy in the morning. However, this does not seem to be the case. “[Though] human studies are extremely limited, consumption of pure ibotenic acid doesn’t appear to be psychedelic: nausea, muscle twitching, facial flushing are usually followed by drowsiness and then sleep.” (Gallimore 2022). Additionally, people who consume fully decarboxylated microdoses also report feeling energy and happiness when taken in the morning.
This is the chemical that gives Amanita its good name. Muscimol is a GABA receptor agonist. Ethanol, benzodiazepines and barbiturates also act on GABA, that's why they all have relaxing properties. Muscimol binds to the same site as endogenous GABA neurotransmitters, which is important for understanding its effects.
GABA is the main inhibitory neuron in the brain, meaning its function is to stop the firing of overactive neurons. By reducing neuronal hyperactivity, it helps bring balance to the nervous system and helps reduce anxiety, stress and fear. (2)
Additionally, in a recent study, researchers have found that reducing firing of overactive neurons can potentially lengthen your lifespan. (3)
TLDR: Scientific and anecdotal evidence show that consuming ibotenic acid does not seem to be worth the risk. This is especially true when there are methods to decarboxylate Amanita muscaria mushrooms.
(2) How Much
Now that you've obtained some decarboxylated Amanita muscaria microdoses, you'll need to figure out the right amount to take.
Generally, people see benefits when they microdose 0.25g - 1.0g* of decarboxylated Amanita mushrooms daily.
This is the sweet spot where you won’t feel any major psychoactive effects, but will notice subtle changes in your day to day life that will add up to huge improvements in your mood and outlook on life.
*Note: When Amanita muscaria is decarboxylated into a tea or extract, the final weight is often different from the original dried weight. To stay consistent, the Amanita community uses the original dried mushroom weight to determine dosing.
Keep in mind that everyone's perfect dose is different. Some people are more sensitive to substances than others. Your best bet is to try a low dose for a few days and then increase the amount if you aren't seeing results.
There is also a very small subset of people who don’t seem to have an effect from muscimol at all, no matter the dose. If you try taking amounts much higher than a microdose and feel nothing, then that is most likely the issue. It’s rare, but definitely a possibility.
How do I know if I am taking the correct dose?
You know you have found your perfect dose when you feel an uplift in mood but do not notice any psychoactive effects.
- Signs you are taking too much: You have changes in perception, lack of motivation, insomnia, aggression or low energy level.
- Signs you are taking too little: You have no major changes in your mood, stress, or outlook on life.
Additionally, you should always feel in control of your emotions and thoughts while microdosing Amanita muscaria.
(3) Time of Day
You can take Amanita muscaria in the Morning or Evening.
What's unique about Amanita is the effects are totally polar, depending on when you consume it in the day.
Take in the morning if you want to feel:
- confident, stress free, energized, optimistic, happy, focused, creative or social.
Take in the evening if you want to feel:
- relaxed, stress free, peaceful, sleepy, or you want to have vivid dreams or deep sleep that will leave you feeling refreshed in the morning.
Unless you need help falling asleep or are focused on increasing your ability to dream, it's best to take Amanita in the morning. When taken in the morning, you can feel the entirety of the unique, but gentle, energy she has to offer. It also allows you to notice the subtle changes that happen to your thoughts and mood.
Some people have also found success with microdosing Amanita both in the morning and evening, so you may want to do some trial and error to find what works best for you.
(4) How Often
You may have heard of or followed some microdosing protocols for psychedelics. The most popular being the Fadiman or the Stamets protocol.
- Fadiman's Protocol: 1 day on, 2 days off
- Stamet's Protocol: 4 days on, 3 days off
- Cole's Protocol: 2 days on, 1 day off
- On/Off method: Every other day on/off
You can certainly try any of the above methods with Amanita muscaria, however, as discussed earlier, Amanita is a VERY different mushroom from psilocybe.
With psilocybin, people build a tolerance to it quickly, meaning they need to take breaks or else they won't feel the effects after a bit. All of the above methods are ways to avoid that pitfall. Each protocol taking a few days off so you continue to feel the effects.
On the other hand, Amanita muscaria seems to have reverse tolerence, meaning you will need less of the mushroom over time to have the same effects. If you tried taking it everyday for a month, you would probably feel the need to pull back a bit because you will start to notice side effects from overconsumption.
(A) Short Term Microdosing Protocols
It's a good idea to start with taking an Amanita microdose everyday. This will help you get familiar with Amanita's unique energy and allow it to build up in your system.
You'll then want to slowly taper off Amanita until you only need to take it occasionally. In other words you would take one less microdose each week until you have a full week off. That would look like this:
Ultimately, the best method is to discover your own protocol.
Amanita muscaria seems to subconsciously tell you when you should or should not take it. Dig deep and listen to your body and mind. Do you still need a boost to feel more aligned with yourself? If yes, take it. If no, skip microdosing for the day.
No matter the microdosing protocol, it's also good idea to log which days you do and do not take it. Even a simple date written in your phone's note's app will work.
(B) Long Term Protocols
After being consistent with Amanita for a few months, you may only need to take it occasionally, or in phases to continue to see benefits.
Here's some examples of what veteran microdosers do to continue to see benefits:
- Work: Take it only on Mondays and Tuesdays, when it's more of a struggle to stay happy and motivated at work.
- Mood Boost: Continue to take it a few times a week/month to keep your mood uplifted.
- Social/Anxious: Take it before social gatherings or interviews when you want to be confident and social with others.
- Learner: Take it in 1 month phases when you want to work consistently with Amanita in some parts of the year, and take long breaks during other parts of the year.
- Free as a Bird: Never take Amanita again and continue to feel balanced and happy throughout your life
(5) For How Long
The best part of using Amanita muscaria is the benefits often persist even after stopping microdosing.
This means you won't need to continue to take Amanita forever to continue seeing benefits, and you likely won't return to the way you felt before starting your microdosing journey.
Many psychoactive substances have a rebound effect (SSRIs, alcohol...), where once you stop taking the substance, you will likely return to how you felt before. You may even feel worse and need to continue to use the substance to keep seeing benefits.
Amanita works differently and is one of the main reasons people are using Amanita to heal themselves, over other substances: Many people feel uplifted and balanced months and possibly years after stopping their microdosing journey.
(6) Check in with Yourself
Keep track of how you feel throughout your microdosing journey. You may want to use the below list of most common effects as a guide for what you should be looking for.
Do you feel more optimistic about life? Is it easier to maintain your mood throughout the day or does your mood swing from elation to depression? How soon after taking your microdose does your mood change?
Do you feel more energetic or more relaxed? Is it easier to start tasks? If you workout do you notice your endurance or power is increased?
Is it easier or more difficult to stay on topic? When you start a task do you follow through or are you easily distracted?
Do you feel more confident in yourself? Has your image of yourself improved or worsened?
Is it easier to converse with others or form sentences? Do you have reduced social anxiety? How about your ability to empathize with others?
Do you feel a release of tension after taking a microdose ? Do little things irritate you or do they bounce off you like a rubber ball? Notice your thoughts, are you worried about the past or future, or do you feel more present?
Aches & Pains
Notice any changes with the pain points in your body after microdosing for a few days. Does it feel any easier to move your body?
Do you notice having more ideas than normal? Do solutions to problems come more easily? Do you have the desire to dance or do art?
Take note of how easy it is for you to fall into sleep. Do you notice any changes with your dreams? Are your dreams more vivid or filled with emotion? When you wake up do you feel more refreshed?
You may also want to have a small microdosing journal. It allows you to have a moment during the day to sit with your experience and notice what lessons Amanita has offered you. Often people won't realize how far they've come and how much they have changed if they don't write it down.
- Listen to your body carefully. You know yourself best. Don't be afraid to take short breaks while microdosing if you feel like you need to process what you have learned from this mushroom.
- Prioritize rest. Your body and mind heal while you sleep. If you aren't getting enough sleep, you won't realize the full potential of this mushroom.
- Avoid alcohol and pharmaceuticals within 6 hours of microdosing. This is especially true for red wine. There is a large body of anecdotal reports that combining red wine with Amanita causes significant unwanted side effects.
- Drink plenty of water. There are occasional reports of people getting minor headaches while microdosing amanita. Almost always it is due to dehydration and some extra water is all they needed.
- Let your energy flow. Go for walks, meet up with friends, do yoga, take risks. Amanita may help remove the barriers that prevent you from living life, but you still need to do the work to make changes.
- Don’t give up too early. Though you should notice effects within a few days, Amanita muscaria has a cumulative effect and you gain much more from it if you take it over a longer period of time. Best bet is to microdose for at least 1 month, but 3 is even better.
Life can be stressful and overwhelming, especially one in our modern society. Microdosing Amanita muscaria can help make the journey of life easier, one that has more peace and mental stability. Only then can we flourish and live out the life we so desperately want and deserve.
Overall, Amanita muscaria is one of the most amazing gifts nature has to offer us humans. If we approach it with respect and intention, it will return the favor.
1. Is microdosing Amanita muscaria safe?
Misinformation claims claims Amanita muscaria is a toxic mushroom, bound to cause intestinal discomfort and hallucinations. Ibotenic acid and overconsumption cause most, if not all, of these effects. When ibotenic acid is fully decarboxylated into muscimol and taken as a microdose, Amanita muscaria has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, memory enhancing and stress reducing properties.
2. Can this interact with medications?
At this time we do not know how it reacts with all other psychoactive substances, so please talk with your physician. With that being said, we do know that muscimol acts on the GABAa and somewhat at the GABAc receptor location in the brain. Thus, it's not recommended to combine Amanita with medications or substances that act on GABA receptors (i.e., don't mix with alcohol or benzodiazepines). Anecdotally, we also know you must not take amanita with red wine.
3. Will I fail a drug test while microdosing Amanita muscaria?
You shouldn't. Amanita Muscaria (or more specifically muscimol and ibotenic acid) is not currently tested for on drug panels. In fact, it's quite a task getting any reputable lab to test for ibotenic acid or muscimol at this time.
If you're concerned, ask your workplace if Amanita is against their policy.
4. What if I take too much?
It's possible that you will end up taking more than a microdose over the course of your journey. The good news is that a medium dose of Amanita muscaria will have you feeling the same effects, just more strongly. It may also feel like you drank some beer, but with a more floaty or dissociated vibe to it.
Don't be afraid. Avoid driving and you should be just fine.
5. Has anyone died from consuming Amanita muscaria in high amounts?
According to the North American Mycological Society, there have been no confirmed cases of people dying due solely to Amanita muscaria consumption.
6. Who shouldn't microdose with Amanita muscaria?
Amanita muscaria should only be consumed by people who are adults and can handle the changes that may come with taking a mind altering substance. Thus, anyone under 18 years old should not take Amanita.
Additionally, we don't know enough about how it interacts with pregnancy, so anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid Amanita,
(13) Masha, Baba. Microdosing with Amanita Muscaria. Park Street Press. 2022.