As psychedelic mushrooms continue to gain prevalence in todays society, the amount of mycologists continue to grow! What's more, I've noticed that many people are beginning to use these fungi for their own personal benefit - and justifiably so.
In the last year, there has been an enormous amount of groundbreaking research that supports the use of psychedelics, especially "magic mushrooms" that contain the highly regulated psychedelic compound known as psilocybin. Although commonly used recreationally, research is beginning to show the true therapeutic potential that these psychedelic fungi can reach.
An article recently posted by the New York Times even suggests that Psilocybin Mushrooms can help individuals with alcoholism in reducing their intake substantially.
However, although research has taken strides in showing the benefits that psychedelic experiences like "shrooms" can bring, the reality is that it will likely be a long time before we see legalization of these fungi on a federal level in the US.
However, what some may not know is that there is another psychedelic fungi that for the most part, is legal - Amanita Muscaria. If you're someone who is in the journey of learning about the power of psychedelics, you'll be surprised to find that not only is it legal, but this fungi grows naturally in a variety of locations across the globe, and is known to create effects that are comparable to their highly controlled adversary - Psilocybin Mushrooms. Are these two fungi really as different as some may think?
What is Amanita Muscaria?
Amanita muscaria, also known as fly agaric or fly mushroom, is a psychoactive mushroom that grows across a wide variety of locations in the Northern Hemisphere. It has been used for thousands of years by shamans and medicine men to induce altered states of consciousness, but the effects of Amanita Muscaria on human cognition have only recently begun to gain more prominence in the eyes of the public.
The difference between Amanita Muscaria and Magic Mushrooms
So, both types of mushrooms are known for their spiritual and psychedelic properties - what gives? Magic mushrooms, or "shrooms", with psilocybin seem to have gotten all the attention in culture, and from legislators. This is in contrast to Amanita Muscaria, which are less commonly known and for the most part, legal.
Although there's similarities, it's not hard to come to the conclusion that these two mushrooms must have some stark differences. Right?
Muscimol vs Psilocybin Effects on the Brain
The effects of psilocybin and muscimol are somewhat similar. Both compounds produce a profound alteration in consciousness, which is characterized by feelings of intense joy or blissfulness (psilocybin) or an altered sense of self-awareness (muscimol). In both cases, this experience is accompanied by a shift in sensitivity to anxiety and fear, as well as a shift of the users way of processing negative thoughts and emotions.
Psilocybin has been used for centuries in religious ceremonies, but it was not until recently that scientists began to investigate its potential therapeutic benefits. A major pinpoint towards this research can be attributed to the opening of the psychedelic research center at Johns Hopkins, which debuted in 2020.
In addition to treating depression, psilocybin has shown a fair amount of promise in addressing health conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and alcohol dependence.
Muscimol, on the other hand, is an alkaloid compound that produces a slightly different effect, depending on the amount consumed. At low doses, muscimol induces euphoria and increased energy, while higher doses can lead to hallucinations, disassociation, and heightened emotional states.
Amanita Muscaria vs Psilocybin Mushroom Legality
The use of the Amanita muscaria mushroom is, for the most part, not controlled by drug enforcement policies across the globe. This is a major contrast to psilocybin mushrooms, which is highly controlled in most countries, given a few exceptions.
United States Laws
As far as the United States goes specifically however, this contrast is magnified.
Amanita Muscaria Legality in the US
As of writing, Amanita Muscaria is legal to possess, cultivate, and sell in the majority of the US states. Currently, the only state with legislation that addresses the use of Amanita Muscaria mushrooms is Louisiana.
Louisiana law explicitly prohibits the possession, use, sale, and cultivation of Amanita Muscaria unless used for ornamental or decorative purposes.
Federally, Amanita Muscaria is not approved for human consumption, and should be used for research purposes only.
Psilocybin Mushroom Legality in the US
For a a large chunk of recent decades, psilocybin mushrooms, or "shrooms", have been listed as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. As such, they are federally illegal under the guise that they have no medical benefits and have high potential for abuse.
However, in recent years, we've been seeing more people from a variety of backgrounds begin to advocate for research into the potential therapeutic benefits that magic mushrooms have. As a result, some states have begun to address these shifts in perception and curiosity with changes to state laws.
According to a Wikipedia editorial, the cities of Denver, Colorado, Oakland, California, Santa Cruz, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan have decriminalized psilocybin in recent years.
On top of that, we've seen state wide legislative changes as well. This includes Oregon, which has decriminalized psilocybin and even began legislation that potentially will allow for therapeutic and medical uses. It also includes Washington, Colorado, and California, which has ongoing legislation towards decriminalization!
Psychedelic Mushroom Legality Moving Forward
Although changes are slow, these types of initiatives tend to have compounding effects over time. Much like CBD, which was, for the most part controversial due to limited research initially, psychedelic mushrooms may soon be readily available to the public in the coming years as studies continue.
Wrapping Up - Amanita Muscaria is the path forward!
As legislation continues to change, we have to bear in mind that psychedelics are a serious matter. There are risks involved and you should always consult with a professional ahead of consuming any.
This is why the research that is beginning to gain momentum is so important - they open the doors to understanding how magic mushrooms can be effectively used on a regular basis while minimizing the potential risks.
Amanita Muscaria's properties have shown in the past that although potentially powerful and risky, with the right precautions they have easily been integrated into everyday life for many people across the globe.