Amanita mushrooms are scientifically known as Amanita muscaria but are commonly referred to within the industry as fly agaric mushrooms.
Featuring soft, white bodies and iconic red caps with white spots, amanita mushrooms are easily recognizable from other mushrooms and are quite impressive to look at!
Amanita mushrooms grow natively in multiple regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere. However, the spores of these fungi have managed to spread to other areas below the equator and now grow freely in multiple places, especially near conifers and birch trees.
Throughout history, amanita mushrooms have been used as entheogens due to their mildly hallucinogenic properties. The mushrooms contain the two psychoactive alkaloids muscarine and ibotenic acid, which converts into muscimol either in the body or through a decarboxylation process when heated.
While these agents may have hallucinogenic properties at high doses, these compounds interact with different receptors than typical psychedelic agents like psilocybin. Psilocybin interacts with neural transmitters like serotonin; however, muscimol (the primary active ingredient in Amanita muscaria) interacts with GABA receptors.
In addition, amanita extracts have the potential to offer a list of different effects and benefits due to how the active alkaloids work. Some researchers have pointed out that the extracts are highly antioxidant, may have neuroprotective properties, and may be good options for certain psychiatric conditions.