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General Info on
Amanita muscaria
by, SXL136

SXL136@psuvm.psu.edu writes:

> Anyone had any experiences with this? What were the effects?

No personal experience, but I wrote the following at some point:

USE
These mushrooms are usually eaten (and are said to taste fine), but people have for some reason tried to smoke them. This is minimally effective. If you want to try, use the skin, which is the most active portion. If you boil them, you may have to drink a lot of broth into which the active principles have leached. They are said to be of slightly decreased effectiveness when dried, particularly after more than a few months. As smoking presumably pyrolyzes the stuff, don't dry it at outrageous temperatures, or pan-blacken it. :-)

The dosage has been variously recommended as "one to four caps", "one or two mushrooms", and "30 grams of dried caps" for A. muscaria. A cap, of course, can vary in size from a half-inch sphere to an eight-inch platter. I have no idea. Start way low. The red variety is said to be more potent than the yellow.

For A. pantherina, the one reference I have involves half a cup of fresh mushroom per person. This may be high; see "Effects" below.


EFFECTS
Reports of effects vary widely, as is to be expected from a natural psychoactive. The mental effects may become apparent within half an hour, but more usually take an hour. The duration seems to be anywhere from four to ten hours. Euphoria, ataxia, and sensory alterations are characteristic, particularly alterations of hearing and taste. Visual effects have also been reported, as has nausea. A. muscaria may also produce cholinergic symptoms such as "profuse salivation and mild perspiration" [Ott].

[text deleted] I would be pretty scared to take these, but since I have this darn Psychedelics Encyclopedia right here, let me see what it says. Okay, for starters, Fly Agaric is the same thing as Amanita muscaria (Pagan's question left it ambiguous). There's another one called Panther Caps or Amanita pantherina that has the same psychoactive compounds - ibotenic acid, muscimol and (less important) muscazone - but more of them.

Now these guys are somewhat toxic, but the other thing to keep in mind is that the Amanita genus has the species that cause 95 percent of all deaths from mushroom poisoning, so you damn well better know what species you're munching on. Amanita virosa (Destroying Angel), Amanita phalloides (Death Cap),... well, I guess the names tell it all. Apparently you only feel the poison of these bad guys TWO DAYS after you eat them, by which time stomach pumping is seldom any use. They look similar to the "good" Amanitas, so be fucking careful.

One funny thing is that about half the books on mushrooms say Amanita muscaria is deadly, but R. Gordon Wasson (who wrote "SOMA: Divine Mushroom of Immortality", arguing that the "soma" of the Rig-Veda was Amanita muscaria) claims that there's not a single firsthand account of lethal poisoning by A. muscaria. Supposedly, if properly dried they are okay if you start with NO MORE THAN 1/4-1/2 CUP OF CHOPPED OR SAUTEED MATERIAL. According to Johnathan Ott, "These mushrooms are powerful. The effective dose range may be narrow. If it is exceeded, even by a small amount, a dissociative experience may result, even a comatose state or an inability to function. Of course, there are many who desire this kind of effect [I love that]; no doubt it would be alarming to others. There are many unanswered questions concerning the toxicity of these mushrooms. It has been suggested, and there is some evidence to support this, that the toxicity may vary according to location and season." The drying process turns ibotenic acid into muscimol, multiplying the potency by 5 or 6, and reduces bad side-effects.

Apparently many people who take it say it's "not all that nice, perhaps not even psychedelic". But here's what Ott says: "After oral ingestion, the full effects will begin in about 90 minutes. For me these are characterized by wavy motion in the visual field, an "alive" quality to inanimate objects, auditory hallucinations and a sense of great mental stillness and clarity. The effects are distinctly different from psilocybin, LSD or mescaline, and may last up to 8 hours. Side effects often include nausea, slight loss of balance and coordination, and drowsiness. Smoking produces a more rapid effect of shorter duration."

Need I repeat this? Anyone who wants to mess with these should learn a lot more about them than the above.