The concentration of components in the fly agaric depends on the species, habitat, and even the season.
However, the following substances have been found in all fly agarics:
A toxin that stimulates muscarinic receptors in the cells of various organs. The concentration is so low that the toxic properties do not manifest.
Possesses hallucinogenic, paralyzing, and hypertensive properties. For a psychedelic effect, at least 2 mg of the substance is required. This is approximately equivalent to 7-10 caps of raw mushrooms. In small doses, it replaces a serotonin deficiency, contributing to the reduction of symptoms of PTSD and depression.
A hallucinogen that can lead to so-called excitotoxicity: the death of neurons, accompanied by strong excitation, delirium, and hallucinations. It undergoes structural changes when dried and transforms into the main component of the fly agaric, muscimol.
An amino acid similar in composition to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It plays a significant role in the production of dopamine, serotonin, and the enhancement of mental activity. By accumulating in neurons of the substantia nigra, it increases dopamine production with a cumulative effect. Muscimol has similar properties to GABA. It helps to relax, reduce tension, improve falling asleep, and enhance sleep quality. It has a mild antidepressant effect.
Muscimol can also expand consciousness. It allows reevaluating a situation, finding unconventional solutions, and looking at a problem from a different angle. Small doses can stimulate creative thinking and creativity.
An excess of muscimol causes nausea, vomiting, changes in taste and smell, delusions, and intrusive thoughts.
Poisoning, Its Symptoms, and Consequences
Consuming fly agarics in raw or cooked form without draining the broth or uncontrolled consumption of the powder leads to poisoning, but it almost never ends fatally.
Symptoms appear 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion. The effects are usually associated with a disturbance of the central nervous system. Stimulation and excitement alternate with depression. Symptoms can include:
- Changes in visual and auditory perception
- Distortions of space and time awareness
- Coordination disorders
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Tachycardia, bradycardia, and arterial hypertension may also occur.
The symptoms last from 8 to 24 hours and usually pass without physical consequences. However, an overdose of fly agaric can trigger effects in people with unstable psyche.
Therefore, the safest way to consume fly agarics is microdosing. A small amount of the extract retains all the positive properties of the mushrooms, without being toxic. People with mental disorders should better avoid microdosing.
Treatment of a fly agaric overdose should occur in a hospital. Upon the appearance of symptoms, emergency medical services should be called immediately, and the patient should be given an absorbent substance (activated charcoal, Polysorb). A large amount of fluid (preferably plain water) helps to expel the toxins more quickly. Vomiting should not be alarming as it cleanses the stomach. In the hospital, the patient undergoes gastric lavage and symptomatic treatment.