Aeruginascin Guide: Uses, Effects, and Benefits in Psychedelic Mushrooms

Aeruginascin Guide: Uses, Effects, and Benefits

Aeruginascin is a naturally occurring tryptamine found in certain species of hallucinogenic mushrooms, including Inocybe aeruginascens and Pholiotina cyanopus. It’s not the most well-known compound, like psilocybin and psilocin. However, aeruginascin has recently gained attention for its pharmacological properties. 

Aeruginascin’s active metabolite, 4-HO-TM, targets serotonin receptors similar to psilocybin but without causing hallucinations. This distinction may result from 4-HO-TMT's struggle to cross the blood-brain barrier effectively and its reduced binding affinity compared to psilocybin. 

These factors together could explain why aeruginascin effectively elevates mood without the hallucinogenic side effects, offering a unique angle for mental health research. 

This guide investigates aeruginascin in magic mushrooms, including its chemical structure, pharmacological mechanisms, effects, and potency.

What Is Aeruginascin?

Aeruginascin (pronounced Air-oo-jin-AS-in)  is an analog of psilocybin, magic mushrooms’ primary active compound, provoking curiosity about its potential psychoactive properties.

Researcher Jochen Gartz isolated aeruginascin (N,N,N-trimethyl-4-phosphoryloxytryptamine) in 1989, subsequently naming the mushroom he extracted it from “Inocybe aeruginascens” after the compound.

Natural Sources of Aeruginascin

Pholiotina cyanopus. Photo Credit: Vancouver Mycological Society

As far as scientists can tell, aeruginascin exists in only a few species of fungi. There is no known occurrence of aeruginascin in plants or animals.
For many years scientists believed aeruginascin only existed in I. aeruginascens. Recently, research confirmed the compound also exists in many psilocybin-containing mushrooms throughout several genera:

  • Pluteus
  • Psilocybe
  • Pholiotina cyanopus
  • Pluteus

In 2020, Dr. Alexander Sherwood and his team at the Ursona Institute published a method of synthesizing aeruginascin in the laboratory, making the compound available for research.

Aeruginascin Chemical Structure

Aeruginascin's molecular structure consists of an indole ring with a tryptamine sidechain. The compound is structurally similar to psilocybin but with an extra phosphoryl group attached to the indole ring and two methyl groups attached to the tryptamine core.

These structural differences could be responsible for whether or not aeruginascin has psychoactive effects. Currently, it is unknown if aeruginascin is active in humans. Studies have only occurred in a laboratory setting, not on humans or animals.

Research does not confirm whether aeruginascin can directly cross the blood-brain barrier, like psilocin, to illicit psychoactive effects. Or whether it acts through other mechanisms.

Aeruginascin Mechanism of Action

To grasp Aeruginascin's role in psychedelic experiences, researchers focus on how it and its metabolites interact with 5-HT2A serotonin receptors. Such interactions are pivotal, as they trigger mushrooms' well-known psychedelic effects including altered perceptions, hallucinations, euphoria, and mystical experiences.

Understanding Aeruginascin's potential begins with examining the binding mechanisms of its metabolites. These metabolites, produced when Aeruginascin breaks down in the body, might have enhanced activity due to their distinct characteristics. Similarly, psilocin, a direct metabolite of psilocybin, is known for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier efficiently and bind to serotonin receptors, thus producing the majority of psychedelic effects.

Aeruginascin Metabolites

Current research suggests that metabolizing aeruginascin creates 4-HO-TMT or 4-hydroxy-N,N,N-trimethyltryptamonium, which may be psychoactive.

Dr. Andrew Chadeayne investigated the effects of the 4-HO-TMT, finding a binding affinity for several serotonin receptors:

  • 5-HT1A
  • 5-HT2A
  • 5-HT2B

In the lab, activity at these receptor sites implies psychoactivity. But Dr. Chareayne and colleagues have doubts that 4-HO-TMT can pass through the blood-brain barrier, which is necessary for mind-altering experiences.

Aeruginascin Effects

Researchers believe aeruginascin might display mood-elevating effects, potentially without psychoactivity. These properties indicate aeruginascin could contribute to a more euphoric psychedelic journey when combined with classic hallucinogenic compounds.

In his research, Dr. Gartz compiled statements from over twenty people who accidentally consumed Inocybe aeruginascens mushrooms and compared them to high-psilocybin mushroom trip reports. The Inocybe aeruginascens group reported exclusively positive experiences, while the magic mushroom cohort often encountered bad moods, psychosis, panic, and anxiety. Based on these results, Dr. Gartz theorized that aeruginascin could modulate the effects of magic mushroom compounds, leading to overall elation.

Dr. Gartz reportedly said:

“It seems that the significant amounts of the indole derivative aeruginascin can modify the pharmacological action of psilocybin to give an (sic) euphoric mood during psychosis with hallucinations due to ingestion of I. aeruginascens."

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Potential Physical Effects

Mycology enthusiasts theorize that aeruginascin could be physically sedating, leading to an unexplained phenomenon known as wood lovers paralysis. Wood lovers paradise" refers to the temporary paralysis or muscle weakness experienced by some people after consuming Psilocybe mushrooms.

The theory stems from aeruginascin being a similar structure to bufotenine, a compound found in the psychoactive venom of various bufo toads. Bufotenidine or 5-HTQ (5-hydroxy-N,N,N-trimethyltryptammonium) blocks neuromuscular activity.

Still, no hard evidence to confirm the theory that aeruginascin causes wood loves paralysis exists. In fact, Dr. Chareayne's study with the aeruginascin metabolite 4-HO-TMT showed no activity with the receptor (5-HT3) that bufotenidine binds to.

Aeruginascin Benefits

Dr. Gartz's speculation that aeruginascin could eliminate bad trips is an essential potential benefit.

Inspired by this theory, CaamTech developed an aeruginascin analog compound. CaamTech’s analog compound “Amphoria” will investigate claims of euphoric effects and wood lovers paralysis. Still, achieving a euphoric trip with chemistry alone is an unproven experiment. Most experts believe the environment and a person's mental state greatly influence the psychedelic experience.

Aeruginascin Risks

Based on Dr. Gatz's observations, the amount of aeruginascin found naturally in mushrooms doesn't pose a health risk. None of the people accidentally consuming the mushrooms experienced dangerous side effects. However, scientists must conduct more research to determine aeruginascin’s potential adverse effects or toxicity.

Aeruginascin Legality

Aeruginascin is a relatively new and obscure compound with unconfirmed psychoactivity. It is not a Scheduled Substance in the United States or elsewhere.

Testing for Aeruginascin Potency in Magic Mushrooms

ACS Laboratory tests DEA-licensed magic mushrooms for nine alkaloids including aeruginascin, psilocybin, psilocin, harmine, harmane, baeocystin, norbaecystin, norpsilocin, and  4-hydroxy-N,N,N.

The certificate of analysis below shows Rose Hill Apothecary’s potency test results for a dried mushroom sample.  

Bottom Line

Aeruginascin's proposed ability to create exclusively euphoric trips is something of a psychonaut's dream. Whether this is reality remains unknown until scientists complete more research into the compound and its metabolites like 4-HO-TMT. The idea that aeruginascin could contribute to a magic mushroom entourage effect or wood lover's paralysis remains unproven, but these ideas could open doors to new exploratory research and discoveries.

ACS Laboratory tests aeruginascin and eight other analytes in psychedelic mushrooms from DEA-licensed producers. Contact us today to start testing magic mushrooms.

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