Addictive Potential: None
Emergency Room Visits Yearly: Unknown
Mandatory Minimum Sentence: None
Mechanism of Action: GABA(A) receptor agonist
Amanita muscaria (also known by the English-language common name fly agaric) is a psychoactive species of mushroom found commonly throughout much of the world.
Amanita muscaria contains Ibotenic acid and muscimol. Small amounts of the Ibotenic acid decarboxylate to muscimol while heating and drying. More of the Ibotenic Acid decarboxylates into muscimol in your stomach after they are eaten. Muscimol is a potent selective agonist of the GABA(A) receptor and is what gives the mushrooms their entheogenic properties.
The mushrooms are most often consumed orally or smoked. However, they can also be taken by drinking the urine of a person that has already taken them orally. The some of the ibotenic acid is converted to muscimol each time it goes through another person’s digestive tract and some of the ibotenic acid is excreted in the urine each time. The entheogen can be passed through up to five people this way.
In 1968, Gordon Wasson put forth the concept that this mushroom was the “plant” that was referred to as Soma, in his now much cited Soma, Divine Mushroom of Immortality. Wasson believed Soma was the mushroom that was utilized in religious ceremonies, over 4000 years ago, before the beginning of our Christian era, by the people who called themselves Aryans. Wasson also believed the hallucinogenic properties of the Amanita muscaria to be the cause of the ecstasy described in the Rig Veda, the holy book of the Hindu. Wasson also believed that there is an apparent function in the urine drinking ceremony. In modern experience the A. muscaria causes nausea, when consumed, probably due to other toxins. It is possible that passing Soma through the digestive tract of the first person filters out the nausea causing metabolite.
In 1970, John Allegro authored the controversial book, The Mushroom and the Cross. The main theme of the book alleges that Judaism and Christianity were based on a secret cult whose god was Amanita muscaria, but was represented in the person of Jesus. He believed that the cult was very cryptic in its writings and made interpretations that are often difficult to follow and more difficult to verify since the interpretations were derived from ancient writings that few could read. The cult eventually died out, but Christianity and Judaism remained as religions.
Amanita muscaria mushrooms are legal to buy, possess, and sell in the United States.
Chemistry and Effects of Entheogenic Amanita Species – by Jonathon Ott, from Pharmacotheon