More Than a Magic Mushroom: Misunderstandings and Merits of Muscimol
Mushrooms may make you think of many different things: pizza toppings, Alice in Wonderland, a walk in the woods, or a psychedelic trip. But how about the medicinal benefits? Mushrooms are a vastly varied and storied fungi, and it goes without saying that some types are more harmful than helpful. However, research both old and new is showing potential benefits of a class of mushrooms that have been hidden in plain sight.
What is this magic ‘shroom and how does it work?
You know it when you see it: a white stalk with a distinctive bright red cap covered in white dots. This mushroom is known scientifically as Amanita Muscaria, or more commonly as fly amanita or fly agaric. It is found growing nearly everywhere in the world, with the exception of Antarctica. Frequently used in pop culture (for example, as the basis for the adorable and iconic toadstool characters in Super Mario), it has not been commonly used for much else, until now.
The fly agaric species of mushrooms is also magic, but not in the same sense that most people think of magic mushrooms. Fly agaric mushrooms do not contain psilocybin, a highly controlled and banned substance in the United States and other countries. They actually contain muscimol, a psychedelic substance that is often taken to experience calming psychoactive effects.
Muscimol is psychoactive because it reacts (as a selective orthosteric agonist) with the GABA A receptors in the nervous system. Along with a general sense of euphoria, the effects can include changes in the perception of certain sensations, like hearing and taste, and a vivid dreamlike state. It is widely recognized as having milder effects than other psychedelics, which make it possible for the consumer to take advantage of the potential benefits without experiencing “a bad trip.”
Are there actually medicinal benefits from taking magic mushrooms?
The secret to reaping the benefits of psychedelics like muscimol often lies in taking it responsibly. It is important to “micro-dose, ”which essentially means taking a very small amount at a time. Many people also make the mistake of taking another serving too soon after the first, because they think they didn’t take enough, or it isn’t working. Typically, it takes 2-3 hours after consuming ‘shrooms for the full effect to be palpable. Recreational users also tend to mix psychedelics with other substances to intensify their experience, but the consumer looking for medicinal benefit should avoid taking any other substances, including alcohol or CBD, when taking muscimol.
Though more studies are needed to bolster the current available information, research is indicating that medicinal use of psychedelics like muscimol can provide powerful analgesic (pain-relieving) effects, especially for muscular pain. Muscimol can also promoter elaxation and restful sleep, which is a breakthrough for those combatting stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Other promising studies are showing anti-inflammatory and anti cancer effects, as well as the potential to help break addictions.
Is there some kind of catch?
It is important that muscimol is isolated, or decarboxylated, properly before being taken, because it is found along side some compounds that are poisonous in fly agaric mushrooms. The toxic nature of these substances, namely ibotenic acid and muscarine, can cause highly unpleasant effects. Ibotenic acid is known to cause sweating, nausea, inability to maintain balance, and involuntary muscle movements in those unlucky enough to ingest it. The bottom line: If you’re going to try muscimol, make sure you buy it from a reliable and legitimate company that is not grinding up the whole mushroom and selling it as muscimol powder. Look for the words “muscimol isolate,” and make sure it says “does not contain ibotenic acid” on the label or product description.
Many psychedelic magic mushrooms are taboo because they are also classified as hallucinogenic and narcotic, a word with Greek roots that literally means “to make numb.” Anything with a narcotic classification carries a negative connotation because they are highly regulated or illegal substances and known to cause addiction. This is the main differentiating factor that separates muscimol from other magic mushrooms.
Is it truly legal?
Muscimol is federally legal throughout the United States, and its sale is only banned in the state of Louisiana. It is non-addictive, due to the way it interacts with the receptors in the nervous system. Some people in the hemp and cannabis industry have begun to refer to it as the “Delta8 of shrooms,” due to its rising popularity. The legal accessibility and the consumer-friendly experience of taking it are making muscimol an increasingly appealing choice for those looking to take advantage of the natural health and wellness benefits of ‘shrooms.
Whether you’re a practiced psychedelic consumer, psychonaut, or someone looking to try psychedelics for the first time to experience the medicinal benefits, muscimol may be exactly what you’re looking for – there’s no real disputing that the effects of this mushroom are “magical.”
Recommended Dosage for Muscimol Isolate:
�2.5mg-5mg = “Micro-dose” | The perfect place to start for consumers new to muscimol & psychedelics; Calm the mind & the body, stimulate the senses
�5mg-7.5mg=“Therapeutic”| Consumers comfortable with pushing the boundaries a little; Achieve an elevated & euphoric state
�7.5mg-10mg = “Talk to a higher power” | Recommended for experienced consumers only