Amanita Mushrooms: Trip Preparation Guide

How to Prepare for an Amanita Mushroom Trip

1/31/20243 min read

Amanita muscaria mushrooms are gaining recognition for their psychotropic properties. Depending on their preparation, these mushrooms can induce mild stimulation or relaxation in low doses, while higher doses can lead to a dissociative, dream-like experience often described as a "trip." In this guide, we will delve into what to anticipate during an Amanita muscaria trip and how to get ready for one.

What to Anticipate During an Amanita Muscaria Trip

Amanita muscaria mushrooms, sometimes referred to as fly agaric, should not be confused with psilocybin-containing "magic" mushrooms, as they lack psilocybin. Therefore, those hoping for effects similar to magic mushrooms may be disappointed. Amanita muscaria does possess psychoactive properties, but its experience is more accurately characterized as dissociative rather than psychedelic.

These mushrooms contain two primary active compounds, ibotenic acid and muscimol. The proportion of these compounds varies depending on whether the mushrooms are fresh or dried and how they are prepared.

Fresh Amanita muscaria mushrooms are abundant in ibotenic acid, which shares a chemical structure similar to the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. It binds to NMDA receptors, known as glutamate receptors, and anecdotal reports suggest it has stimulating and energizing effects. However, ibotenic acid is a known neurotoxin, which is believed to contribute to the unpleasant side effects associated with consuming raw Amanita muscaria mushrooms. Therefore, most experts recommend preparing the mushrooms before consumption.

Exposure to heat and acidic conditions converts ibotenic acid into muscimol, which shares a chemical structure with the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA and binds to GABA-A receptors, leading to relaxation. Muscimol is generally considered safer to consume than ibotenic acid and is less likely to cause adverse effects.

The method of preparation significantly impacts the nature of the experience due to the opposing effects of ibotenic acid and muscimol. However, some common effects of Amanita muscaria include:

  1. Visual and auditory hallucinations

  2. Increased introspection

  3. Distorted perception of reality

  4. Time loops or repetitive thoughts

  5. Rapid mood swings

  6. A sensation of death, being deceased, or visiting the afterlife

  7. Out-of-body experiences

  8. Deep spiritual feelings

  9. Inability to remain awake

  10. Vivid or lucid dreams

Preparing for Your First Amanita Muscaria Trip

While many benefits of the fly agaric mushroom are associated with microdosing, larger doses for a full Amanita muscaria trip require careful consideration:

1. Preparation Method:

  • The preparation method significantly influences the experience. Drying the mushrooms at 158°F (70°C) initiates decarboxylation, converting ibotenic acid to muscimol. Dried mushrooms contain a mix of both compounds, leading to variable effects.

  • Some individuals prefer mushrooms with ibotenic acid effects, while others opt for complete decarboxylation using the low pH simmer method. This involves simmering the mushrooms for up to three hours in water with lemon juice or citric acid to achieve a pH of 2.5 to 3. This results in mushrooms with less ibotenic acid and more muscimol.

2. Understanding Dosage:

  • Amanita muscaria's unpredictability necessitates careful dosage consideration. Each mushroom can vary in potency, and individuals may react differently.

  • Start with a minimal dose of 0.5 dried grams and gradually increase as you become more comfortable with the mushroom's effects.

3. Set and Setting:

  • The mindset and physical environment significantly affect the trip. Amanita muscaria experiences are often described as spiritual, rather than recreational or enjoyable.

  • Engage with the mushroom in a positive state of mind and in a comfortable, controlled environment. Stay at home with access to a bathroom, gather essential items, choose relaxing music, and practice relaxation techniques before ingestion.

4. Using a Sitter:

  • It is recommended to have a sober person present when taking large doses of Amanita muscaria to offer support and ensure physical safety. This is especially crucial due to the potential dissociation effects.

  • The sitter should be open-minded, calm, and preferably experienced with the substance.

5. Avoid Mixing with Other Substances:

  • It is generally discouraged to combine Amanita muscaria with other psychoactive substances, particularly alcohol, benzodiazepines, or barbiturates, which may amplify its effects.

6. Integration:

  • After the trip, take time to reflect on the experience and its significance. Journaling or discussing it with friends can be helpful.

  • Consider joining psychedelic integration circles or seeking the assistance of integration coaches.

In conclusion, while Amanita muscaria offers a unique set of effects distinct from psilocybin and other psychedelics, it is essential to prepare adequately before consuming higher doses. Key considerations include preparation and dosage, set and setting, having a sitter, avoiding other substances, and integrating the experience afterward.