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Amanita muscaria
does not contain psilocybin, but is psychoactive.

Use: Historically significant in certain cultures. Used by some people as a sleep aid and anxiolytic. Other effects vary by person and dose - a drunk or relaxed feeling, dream-like state, out-of-body experiences, brighter colours, increased sociability, vivid dreams.
Adverse effects: Nausea, salivation, panic, muscle twitching and tremors, seizures, vomiting, delirium, dissociation, loss of motor control.
Muscimol went under clinical trial phase I for epilepsy in 2012, but the trial was discontinued.
Nate Amanita 11_edited.jpg

Contains neurotoxic ibotenic acid and muscimol, trace amounts of muscarine, and no psilocybin. These compounds are not serotonergic type psychedelics. In preparation for use, most or all of the ibotenic acid is decarboxilated to muscimol, a GABA-ergic compound with some therapeutic potential. These Wikipedia entries are decent.


Lookalike Amanita phalloides (Death Cap) is deadly poisonous. This species is roughly the same size and shape in maturity but has a yellowish to greenish olive cap, usually without flecks.

Both can form micorrhizal relationships with the same trees. The species do not contain the same compounds. See


Other Amanita species can appear similar, especially to aged yellowish or orange Amanita muscaria.


When immature, resembles a white ball and can be mistaken for an edible puffball. A cross-section will reveal the formation of gills, reddish skin and strip of yellow flesh (photos included).

Image by Samuel - Amanita muscaria

Amanita muscaria

Pileus/Cap: Large 8-20cm reddish disk with raised white flecks (these can wash or wear off). Ball-shaped when immature, chequered or still encased in white material. There is a yellow section of flesh inside the cap just beneath the skin, the rest of the flesh is whitish.


Lamellae/Gills: White, crowded, very narrowly attached or detached from the stipe.


Stipe/Stem: White, ringed, with veil remnants forming a ragged skirt. Further remnants of white material continue downwards. A swollen, chequered bulb sits at the base under the soil.


Spore Colour: White, as with other species of Amanita.


Habitat and Distribution: Ectomycorrhizal with pine and many other trees (appearing to grow from the ground but with a symbiotic attachment to living roots). Favours moderately cool temperatures, observed year-round across the country.

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