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Experts Call for Immediate FDA Action on Dangerous Amanita Muscaria Sales
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Experts Call for Immediate FDA Action on Dangerous Amanita Muscaria Sales

Seraiah Alexander
Seraiah Alexander
June 26, 2024
2 min

As the popularity of magic mushrooms rises, so do sales of Amanita muscaria products, which are frequently sold under false health pretenses. Now, experts warn that these products could have severe, if not fatal, consequences if they’re not regulated under stricter guidelines. 

Many Amanita muscaria products market themselves alongside magic mushrooms, with supposed health benefits including decreased anxiety, improved sleep quality, pain relief, and enhanced overall mood. However, these products contain no psilocybin, the active ingredient found in traditional ‘shrooms.’ Instead, they include muscimol and ibotenic acid, which have different interactions with the brain and can be highly toxic at high doses.

These compounds can lead to severe neurotoxic effects, including confusion, agitation, involuntary bodily movements, and more alarming symptoms like seizures, coma, and even death. Multiple cases of acute intoxication from Amanita muscaria have been reported, and although fatalities are rare, these mushrooms still pose serious health risks that should be taken into account.

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Unlike psilocybin, which remains listed under the DEA’s drug scheduling, muscimol and ibotenic acid are technically still federally legal. However, the FDA has not approved Amanita muscaria for human consumption. Nonetheless, the health-related claims on many Amanita muscaria products violate FDA regulations. 

According to a review published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, scientists tested the toxicity of muscimol and ibotenic acid on rat models and found that the compounds can be more toxic than drugs like fentanyl and cocaine. Despite these significant health risks, the FDA has not yet taken action against these products, which continue to be sold widely across the United States, both online and in smoke shops. This critical gap in regulatory oversight could have severe consequences for consumers.

As noted in the review, “There are no mandated protections for children, such as age restrictions, child-resistant closures, maximum dose requirements, and restrictions on product and marketing features that appeal to children (e.g., cartoons), all of which are now required for state-run recreational cannabis programs in the U.S. Second, although many manufacturers claim to test their products for the amount of active constituents and contaminants, currently there are no accepted testing standards for muscimol or benchmarks for potency.”

Amanita muscaria mushrooms have been historically used in various cultures for their psychoactive properties, and some preclinical studies have suggested that muscimol could have potential health benefits. But unlike psilocybin, which has a low toxicity profile and no well-documented cases of fatal overdoses, Amanita muscaria can present significant risks if dosed incorrectly.

To ensure consumer safety, the study’s authors are calling for the FDA to place Amanita muscaria on the Controlled Substances list or, at the very least, implement immediate regulatory measures, including age restrictions and accurate labeling. 

“Given the substantial risks associated with the consumption of Amanita muscaria products, it is a ‘buyer beware’ marketplace where consumers are at risk and manufacturers are profiting from delayed regulatory enforcement. The time for a public health first response is now.”


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health
Seraiah Alexander

Seraiah Alexander

Content Editor

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