There is a long-lasting controversy when it comes to psychedelic substances. One particular substance that has been attracting significant attention lately is Muscimol, and it is no exception. Muscimol can be found in multiple different mushroom species among some other active compounds. However, in this article, we will focus mostly on Amanita muscaria and Muscimol. Given the surging interest in Muscimol, it’s important to have a comprehensive grasp of its legal status.
What is Muscimol?
Muscimol is a potent psychoactive compound found in various mushroom species all over the world. One of the most popular muscimol-containing fungi is Amanita muscaria. It acts as a selective orthosteric agonist for the GABAA receptors, producing hallucinogenic and depressant intoxicating effects. Due to these effects, it has gained a lot of popularity recently, the fact that it’s legal in most parts of the world makes it a popular choice for both recreational and medical use.
Muscimol vs Psilocybin – What’s the Difference
Despite the fact that both mushrooms are frequently referred to as “magic mushrooms,” their chemical makeup and how they affect the body and mind are different. Muscimol affects the GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, while psilocybin binds to serotonin receptors due to the similarity in structure. This implies that the effects of both compounds are significantly different.
Amanita mushroom effects are often milder than psilocybin effects, and users may experience a deep sense of tranquility with a mildly altered perceptive state. The psychedelic effects of Amanita muscaria may come on after the person has fallen asleep, resulting in incredibly vivid dreams. On the other side, psilocybin mushrooms may deceive the mind and change how time, space, sound, and vision are perceived.
It’s also essential to keep in mind that while muscimol is considered legal throughout most parts of the world, psilocybin, and psilocybin-containing mushrooms are banned.
Legal Status of Muscimol
While Amanita muscaria and Muscimol are legal in most parts of the world, it’s more efficient to mention where this substance is prohibited, since it’s only a handful of locations. Since Muscimol-containing mushrooms are less popular than psilocybin ones, lawmakers in the majority of the world have not yet deemed it necessary to ban them. Here are five countries where possession of Amanita muscaria mushrooms and muscimol are illegal.
Louisiana is the only state that currently prohibits the use of muscimol mushrooms. Under Louisiana State Act 159, it is unlawful to cultivate, possess, trade, or purchase Amanita muscaria mushrooms, except for ornamental purposes.
Although muscimol products remain legal in the remaining US states, it is plausible for other states to emulate Louisiana’s stance. However, this scenario is less likely in states that are already amending their laws concerning psychedelics.
Since 2010, Amanita muscaria mushrooms have been banned in Romania, although they were previously obtainable in smart shops across the country. These mushrooms grow naturally in the wild, along with various other types of hallucinogenic fungi in Romania. Despite being unavailable for purchase, people, especially in rural areas, may still forage for them. Nevertheless, Romanian law classifies all psychedelic substances (excluding LSD and PCP) as Class I, high-risk drugs, and possession can result in imprisonment for up to three years.
Contrary to popular belief, not all magic mushrooms are legal in the Netherlands. Even though magic truffles (a dormant form of fungus containing psilocybin, known as sclerotia) are still legal, the country prohibited mushrooms, including psilocybin and muscimol mushrooms like Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina. According to Dutch law, from December 2008, holding as little as 0.5 grams of dried shrooms or 5 grams of fresh ones is punishable by law.
In Australia, Amanita muscaria mushrooms are illegal because muscimol is classified as a Schedule 9 drug. The Australian drug schedule categorizes drugs and medications into different schedules based on their potential for abuse, dependence, and harm.
As one of the “five categories” of drugs that are regarded as hallucinogenic, Amanita mushrooms are outlawed from use, storage, distribution, and transportation in Thailand. Nevertheless, in certain touristy/party areas of the country, there is a thriving market for magic mushrooms, including Amanita. It is unclear if Thailand will ease its regulations on psilocybin mushrooms in addition to Amanita, despite there having been conversations about doing so. Nevertheless, this development raises the possibility of a more tolerant and accepting attitude toward psychedelics in general.
The Future of Muscimol
As interest in natural remedies and alternative therapies grows, so does the interest in Muscimol. While there is a lack of clinical research on the compound, a handful of studies that have been conducted so far suggest that Muscimol may be used in a variety of medical applications.
Although, like any other compound, muscimol has its risks. That’s why weighing risk versus benefit is detrimental to the future of this compound. On the other hand, if we look solely at legality status it is possible that there will be some changes in the future due to a raise in the popularity of this unique and mysterious substance.
Final Thoughts On the Legal Status of Muscimol
Currently, only those five locations have prohibited amanita muscaria mushrooms and/or muscimol products. However, keeping an eye on local laws is the best practice since it’s possible that other areas may also enforce such bans in the future. If you reside in a place with liberal drug laws, or an area where these mushrooms don’t grow naturally and aren’t attracting much attention, then you can be assured that they will probably remain legal in your vicinity.
Nobody knows what the future holds, as there are multiple ongoing studies suggesting that muscimol may have some medical applications. It is possible that it will someday be a controlled substance that would be prescribed by physicians all over the country.