Amanita Muscaria vs. psilocybin mushrooms


The statements made regarding Amanita Muscaria products have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a consumable food. Amanita Muscaria products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Amanita Muscaria, also called Fly Agaric, is a beautiful red and white mushroom. Psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as magic mushrooms, on the other hand, do not stand out by a bright color. However, appearance is certainly not the only difference between the two mushroom species. Further, we describe the differences between Amanita Muscaria and Psilocybin mushrooms.

Overview of Amanita vs Psilocybin

Psilocybin or magic mushrooms are fungi that contain the main psychoactive compound psilocybin, which is a naturally occurring psychedelic agent, and when ingested it turns into psilocin. Due to this compound users are able to have powerful visualizations and mystical experiences.

Appearance vise, psilocybin mushrooms usually have light tan caps of various sizes and white to brown stems. Psilocybin mushrooms are one of the most popular and widely used magic mushrooms in the U.S. and Europe, with a history in spiritual and religious rituals.

Amanita Muscaria or Fly Agaric mushrooms contain the main compounds of muscimol, ibotenic acid, and muscarine. Amanita mushrooms look memorable and beautiful due to their scarlet red caps. Fly Amanita mushrooms, however, can be toxic, poisonous, and in rare cases even deadly when consumed raw.

What are the differences between Amanita Muscaria and psilocybin mushrooms?

When it comes to the differences between Fly Agaric and magic mushrooms, these two species differ firstly in their active ingredients, psychedelic and psychoactive effects as well as medical nutritional values, consumption, and legal statuses.

Active ingredients

Magic mushrooms contain the psychoactive compound psilocybin. As mentioned previously, psilocybin, when ingested, turns into psilocin which causes visualizations, hallucinations, and mystical experiences.

Since psilocybin is known as a prodrug, it has to be digested by the body in order to start acting. Therefore, when people ingest magic mushrooms, psilocybin is broken down by the liver through a process called dephosphorylation, which turns it into the bioactive form known as psilocin.

Both psilocybin and psilocin are hallucinogenic, although the majority of the psychedelic effects of magic mushrooms are attributed to the compound psilocin. These compounds mostly act on serotonin receptors in the brain, and create the altered sensory experience.  In addition to psilocybin and psilocin, magic mushrooms contain hundreds of active compounds which all contribute to the mushroom's whole spectrum of effects.

Amanita Muscaria mushrooms, on the other hand, contain muscimol, ibotenic acid, and muscarine as the main active compounds. What is muscimol? Muscimol is the main psychoactive compound in Amanita mushrooms. It acts as a potent agonist of the GABAa neurotransmitter receptor in the brain and enhances the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA. Since muscimol is classified as a deliriant, it has the ability to produce hallucinations and other altered states of consciousness.

Another important compound – ibotenic acid is largely related to muscimol as it is the precursor to muscimol. When Amanita Muscaria mushrooms are ingested or dried, the ibotenic acid they contain is decarboxylated this way forming muscimol. This process is usually made by drying, heat, or the acidic environment of the stomach. 

The third compound of Amanita Muscarias – muscarine, is the alkaloid responsible for the feeling of intoxication – discomfort, upset stomach, and nausea but it does not have psychoactive properties.

Psychedelic vs psychoactive effects

Psilocybin psychedelics, usually act on the brain's serotonin receptors, causing changes in perception, mood, and even spiritual enlightenment. Users of psilocybin can redefine their lives and create long-lasting improvements by rewiring their brains. Typical magic mushroom effects include:

  • Euphoric feels,
  • Peacefulness,
  • Spiritual awakening,
  • Derealization, or the feeling that surroundings are not real,
  • Distorted thinking,
  • Visual alteration and distortion, such as seeing halos of light and vivid colors,
  • Increased energy,
  • Excitement,
  • Paranoia,
  • Anxiousness.
  • When it comes to the effects, Amanita Muscaria's effects on humans are considered a “deliriant” rather than “psychedelic” because they don’t act on the same receptors as psilocybin or psilocin, which are considered psychedelic. Fly Agaric acts mostly on receptors that can cause an ethereal, dreamlike, or sedative state.

Fly Agaric’s psychoactive effects manifest much differently than psilocybin mushrooms and some people describe the effects of Amanitas as similar to alcohol intoxication. Fly Argaric mushrooms can be relaxing and sedative, often with euphoria and a “dreamlike” state of being. They can also cause extreme sweating, vomiting, defecating, and temporary psychosis if the ibotenic acid is not decarboxylated properly. Typical psychoactive effects of A. Muscaria include:

  • Strong visions and religious insights,
  • Dream-like sensations,
  • Looping experiences,
  • Stimulation,
  • Increased energy, muscular vitality,
  • Tranquility, and drowsiness,
  • Visual distortions,
  • Dizziness,
  • Visual and auditory impairment,
  • Sensation of perceiving objects as either very large or very small.

The effects of Amanita Muscaria are quite unpredictable as some users claim euphoric feelings while others describe them as feeling ill and afraid.

Medical nutritional values

Although debates about the recreational use of muscimol for its hallucinogenic effects are common, it's vital to recognize that this substance may also have therapeutic benefits. Studies on the effects of muscimol on the neurological system point to possible uses in the treatment of GABA receptor-related illnesses such as anxiety disorders and specific forms of epilepsy. Despite the psychedelic-like effects, muscimol has plenty of potential for medicinal uses - this compound is involved in the regulation of mood, anxiety, sleep, and brain function.

Muscimol has not received as much research attention as psilocybin, which is being investigated for its effects on mental health conditions like depression and PTSD. Psilocybin mushrooms are used therapeutically to treat conditions like addiction, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, cluster headaches, and OCD. People with life-threatening cancer experience decreases in anxiety after using psilocybin. Both psilocybin and muscimol are effective in treating alcoholism.


Psychedelic effects of magic mushrooms usually appear 30 to 60 minutes after consuming the mushrooms and the peak is after 1-2 hours. The whole standart experience lasts about 4-6 hours.

Ibotenic acid and muscimol both produce psychedelic effects. When taken via ingestion, the effects take a while to show up and start to come on 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion, often taking 2 to 3 hours to reach their peak. Depending on the dosage, the effects last for approximately 6 to 8 hours. The effects' characteristics might vary greatly, depending on individual variances, diversity, and dosage.

Legal status

Considering legality, psilocybin mushrooms are decriminalized or legalized in some states of the U.S. and countries of the world. However, they are still categorized as controlled substances in the U.S., making them illegal at the federal level. 

Amanita Muscaria mushrooms are legal in most places around the world. The active compounds these mushrooms contain are largely unregulated and do not exist on the DEA’s drug scheduling list, making Amanita Muscaria federally legal in the U.S. as well as most other countries of the world. The FDA has not approved A. Muscaria for human consumption, but all states of the U.S. allow sales except Louisiana.

It is always advised to buy Amanita Muscaria mushrooms from trusted sources. If you are looking to delve further into the world of Fly Agaric, we suggest selecting dried Amanita mushroom caps, Fly Agaric tincture, Amanita Muscaria gummies, Amanita extract, and more at MyCoteria store.

Continue reading

If you are keen on finding out more insights regarding Amanita Muscaria's legality, read all about it in our blog “Is Amanita Muscaria Legal? Worldwide Legal Status Overview”.

Amanita Muscaria is not only known for its effects but also for its medical benefits. Read the blog article “What are Amanita Muscaria's medical uses?” and discover more.


Muscimol vs. psilocybin - what’s the main difference?

Muscimol and psilocybin compounds offer different types of psychedelic experiences, primarily because they interact with different receptors in the brain. Muscimol targets GABA receptors, whereas psilocybin primarily targets serotonin receptors, which may contribute to its ability to affect mood. During a psilocybin trip, vivid hallucinations and an intense emotional journey are common. Muscimol, on the other hand, provides a more sedative sensation that alters the user's view of time and space.

Does muscimol make you trip?

Consuming Amanita Muscaria mushrooms for recreational purposes or creative exploration can lead to a wide range of psychoactive effects which may cause hallucinogenic changes in perception.

Is muscimol safe?

Muscimol is generally a safe and well-tolerated Amanita Muscaria compound, especially in amounts below the adverse effects threshold. Ibotenic acid, found in Fly Agaric, however, can be toxic, therefore producers of A. Muscaria products should employ techniques that convert the ibotenic acid to muscimol for safety purposes.

Is muscimol a psychedelic?

Muscimol is considered rather a deliriant than a psychedelic. Muscimol can produce different dosage-dependent effects but is mainly psychoactive, meaning a change of mind state can occur, but it is not overwhelmingly psychedelic like magic mushrooms. However, high doses of muscimol can have psychedelic effects, altering taste, hearing, and sensory perception.


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