What Is Amanita Muscaria?: The Santa Claus Mushroom

Amanita muscaria, often referred to as the fly agaric or sometimes as the “Santa Claus mushroom,” is a mushroom species that belongs to the Amanita genus and the broader Amanitaceae family. It is most commonly found in woodlands across the Northern Hemisphere, where it forms a mycorrhizal relationship with native tree species in its habitat.

Amanita muscaria is well-known for its striking appearance. This mushroom’s vibrant red cap coated with white plaques makes the association with Santa Claus understandable. Still, there’s more to this eye-catching mushroom than meets the eye. Read on to find out more about this fascinating fungus.


Why forage for mushrooms when you can have VidaCap’s Amanita muscaria gummies delivered right to your door? Containing 500mg of Amanita extract, VidaCap’s gummies are rich in muscimol, enabling you to experience Amanita muscaria’s amazing psychoactive effects. Order yours today!

Is Amanita Muscaria Poisonous?

One question that frequently comes up about Amanita muscaria is: Is it poisonous? The straightforward answer is “yes.” Raw Amanita muscaria mushrooms contain the neurotoxic compound ibotenic acid, as well as muscimol and muscarine.

Consuming a large amount of Amanita muscaria mushrooms can lead to poisoning. A case study published by the National Library of Medicine discussed what happened to a 44-year-old man who had consumed 13 Amanita muscaria mushroom caps.


Approximately an hour after ingesting the mushrooms, the man was admitted to the emergency department, suffering from malaise and nausea. However, his condition deteriorated soon after admission. He lost consciousness and ended up in a coma for 72 hours, but ultimately survived due to the medical care he received.

In that case study, the authors state that symptoms typically begin thirty minutes to two hours after ingestion, and they manifest clinically as:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Visual and auditory perceptual changes
  • Gastroenteric symptoms (albeit uncommonly)

The authors also pointed out that cases of severe poisoning can lead to coma (as occurred with the man in question in that case study) and, more rarely, circulatory and respiratory failure, leading to death.

Is Amanita Muscaria Poisonous to Dogs?

If you’re a pet owner, you might be wondering: Is Amanita muscaria poisonous to dogs?

Yes, Amanita muscaria is harmful to our canine companions as well. If a dog happens to consume raw Amanita muscaria mushrooms, it might exhibit signs such as excessive drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Should you have concerns that your dog might have ingested Amanita muscaria mushrooms, it’s imperative to consult a veterinarian without delay.

How to Identify Amanita Muscaria

It’s vitally important to know how to identify Amanita muscaria mushrooms correctly. It is important to note that heavy rainfall can lead to Amanita muscaria’s characteristic white plaques being washed off from their caps. In fact, in Slovenia, 90% of all cases of mushroom poisoning are due to the consumption of Amanita muscaria mushrooms being mistaken for the edible and harmless species Amanita caesarea.

Here’s how to positively identify Amanita muscaria mushrooms:

Cap: Typically, Amanita muscaria has a vibrant red cap. However, it’s important to note that the color of Amanita muscaria mushroom caps can vary and sometimes be orange to yellowish-orange. The cap is coated with distinctive flecks or white plaques.

Gills: Under the cap, you’ll find white gills. These gills are free, which means they don’t connect directly to the stem.

Stem: The stem is white, and you’ll often notice a ring or a skirt-like formation close to the top. The base might appear slightly bulbous.

Veil: In its younger phase, Amanita muscaria has a partial veil shielding the gills. As it grows older, this veil can rupture, leaving traces along the stem.

Spores: Amanita muscaria’s spores are white in color.

Does Amanita Muscaria Get You High?

Anyone new to this mystical mushroom likely wants to know: Does Amanita muscaria get you high? And if so, what does the Amanita muscaria high feel like?

Amanita muscaria’s psychoactive effects are down to its ibotenic acid and muscimol content, and the intensity of the experience will depend on the ratio of these compounds in the mushrooms you consume. Ibotenic acid has stimulating effects, which are felt after the compound interacts with glutamate receptors in the brain. Conversely, muscimol interacts with GABA receptors and has relaxing effects.

Many describe the Amanita muscaria high as being almost dreamlike or even spiritual. Again, not everyone will have the exact same Amanita muscaria high experience. Apart from the ratio of ibotenic acid to muscimol ratio in the mushrooms, individual differences such as a person’s physiology, metabolism, and overall tolerance can affect how a person’s body breaks down Amanita muscaria’s compounds.

How Do You Eat Amanita?

The first question many people ask is: Can you eat Amanita muscaria?

The answer is “yes,” but you have to prepare the mushrooms for consumption first. As mentioned, Amanita muscaria mushrooms contain ibotenic acid and muscimol. Ibotenic acid is neurotoxic, so the raw mushrooms first must be decarboxylated (usually by drying them in an oven or dehydrator) to convert the ibotenic acid content into muscimol. It’s important to note also that muscimol is only safe to consume in low doses. Higher doses can cause illness, as described in this review article published in the Pharmacia journal.

Amanita Muscaria Dose: How Much Should I Take?

There is no recommended Amanita muscaria dosage. However, at around 10-15mg, the psychoactive effects of muscimol are noticeable.

Research shows that 100g of dried Amanita muscaria mushrooms contain 150mg of muscimol and 30mg of ibotenic acid. When calculating an appropriate Amanita muscaria dried dosage, you have to factor in individual differences, such as personal tolerance, how the mushrooms were prepared, and the total ibotenic acid and muscimol content they contain, which can wildly fluctuate.


Rather than foraging for mushrooms, trying to decarboxylate them correctly, and then having to calculate a safe and effective Amanita muscaria dried dosage, you could always try Amanita muscaria gummies. For example, VidaCap, a leading mushroom supplement brand, sells Amanita muscaria gummies that contain 500mg of Amanita extract.

During the manufacturing process, the mushrooms are decarboxylated so that muscimol content is maximized and the ibotenic acid is minimized. As they contain a consistent dose, you know the exact Amanita muscaria gummy dosage you are consuming with each one.

How Does Amanita Muscaria Make You Feel?

Many people wonder: What does Amanita muscaria feel like?

The answer depends on a number of factors, including whether the mushrooms are being consumed raw or have been decarboxylated first. When you consume Amanita muscaria mushrooms that have been properly decarboxylated and prepared, where the ibotenic acid content has been sufficiently converted to muscimol, they generally induce the following psychoactive effects:

  • Percibtle change in mood
  • Altered sense of reality
  • Repetitive thoughts
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Time loops
  • Increased sense of introspection
  • Out-of-body experiences
  • A sensation of having died or being dead
  • Increased sense of spirituality
  • Vivid or lucid dreams

Is Amanita Muscaria Legal?

If you are wondering: Is Amanita muscaria legal in the U.S.? – the answer is “yes,” except for the state of Louisiana. Under Louisiana law, Amanita muscaria mushrooms are included in a list of prohibited hallucinogenic plants and are, therefore, illegal in the Pelican state.

The same applies to products like VidaCap’s Amanita muscaria gummies. They are legal in all states except for Louisiana.


Why forage for mushrooms when you can have VidaCap’s Amanita muscaria gummies delivered right to your door? Containing 500mg of Amanita extract, VidaCap’s gummies are rich in muscimol, enabling you to experience Amanita muscaria’s amazing psychoactive effects. Order yours today!

Final Thoughts

Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric or Santa Claus mushroom, is renowned for its iconic appearance and its psychoactive effects.

If you would like to experience the psychoactive effects of this fascinating fungus in a safe way, we recommend that you try VidaCap’s Amanita muscaria gummies. They contain a consistent dose of Amanita extract (500mg), so you know exactly how much you are getting in each one. Furthermore, VidaCap has its Amanita muscaria gummies tested by third-party laboratories to verify their safety and purity.

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