In an interview with the New York Post, boxing legend Mike Tyson spoke about how smoking the psychedelic toad venom has altered his perspective about life and death. The 55-year-old also spoke about his experience when he tried it for the first time, saying he “died.”
Tyson made those comments at the Wonderland conference in Miami. The event reportedly focuses on psychedelics, microdosing, and medicine.
“I ‘died’ during my first trip,” the former world boxing heavyweight champion said. “In my trips I’ve seen that death is beautiful. Life and death both have to be beautiful, but death has a bad rep. The toad has taught me that I’m not going to be here forever. There’s an expiration date.”
Per Addiction Center, the practice of smoking toad venom, which is a mind-altering drug, is gradually becoming popular in the United States. And the venom that is currently being processed and smoked is extracted from the Sonoran Desert toad. The amphibian’s toxic venom glands are made into a dry paste before it is smoked.
The substance has reportedly been harvested and smoked by Shamans in Mexico and southwestern US for decades. “The drug’s hallucinogenic effects take hold in about five minutes after ingestion, causing a powerful religious-like trip that lasts about an hour,” per Addiction Center. Researchers also said people who consume it usually become immobile and unresponsive. Other effects after ingestion include emotional reactions, euphoria, convulsions, and vomiting.
“It’s such an intense experience that, in most cases, doing it at a party isn’t safe,” Alan K. Davis of the Psychedelic Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University said in a report by Addiction Center. “It’s not a recreational drug. If people get dosed too high, they can ‘white out’ and disassociate from their mind and body.”
Possession of the drug is illegal, according to HuffPost. Tyson said a friend introduced him to the drug four years ago, adding that he was overweight, unhappy, and also had a drug and alcohol addiction at the time.
“I did it as a dare,” recalled Tyson. “I was doing heavy drugs like cocaine, so why not? It’s another dimension. Before I did the toad, I was a wreck. The toughest opponent I ever faced was myself. I had low self-esteem. People with big egos often have low self-esteem. We use our ego to subsidize that. The toad strips the ego.”
Tyson said he has since used the psychedelic drug 53 times, adding that he sometimes smokes it three times a day. Tyson also said he shed 100 pounds in the space of three months, got back into the boxing ring, and patched things up with his wife and children, New York Post reported.
“It has made me more creative and helps me focus,” he said. “I’m more present as a businessman and entrepreneur.”
The marijuana grower also said he has a nursery for the venomous toads at his ranch in Southern California.
“People see the difference [in me],” Tyson said. “It speaks for itself. If you knew me in 1989 you knew a different person. My mind isn’t sophisticated enough to fathom what happened, but life has improved. The toad’s whole purpose is to reach your highest potential. I look at the world differently. We’re all the same. Everything is love.”