Mike Tyson has faced off against some fierce fighters during his storied boxing career, but his toughest opponent might have been a dose of psychedelic toad venom.
The 55-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion said he "died" while using toad venom for the first time.
“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,” Tyson told The New York Post at Wonderland, a Miami conference dedicated to psychedelics, microdosing and medicine.
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The “toad” is Bufo alvarius, a Mexico amphibian otherwise known as the Sonoran Desert Toad. For seven months of the year, it hibernates underground, but when it’s active, its venom can be smoked to create a short psychoactive experience.
Tyson said he tried it for the first time four years ago when he was 100 pounds overweight, drinking and doing drugs. One of his friends suggested he try toad venom and Tyson apparently loved it.
“I did it as a dare,” Tyson recalled. “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 told The New York Post that he’s now tripped toad 53 times, sometimes as much as three times in the same day. He said he lost 100 pounds in three months, started boxing again, and reconnected with his wife and children.
“People see the difference [in me],” he 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.”
Tyson has also become an advocate for toad venom and psychedelics.
“I’m fighting for psychedelics to become medicine you can buy over the counter,” he said. “I’m not finished. I want to do more. I want to be the best I can be in this field.”