“The toad has taught me that I’m not going to be here forever. There’s an expiration date.”
Mike Tyson claims he “died” while on a mind-melting trip after smoking toad venom.
Speaking to the New York Post at psychedelic industry conference Wonderland, the 55-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion recounted extraordinary experiences triggered by the ingestion of toxins secreted by Bufo alvarius, aka the Sonoran Desert Toad.
“I ‘died’ during my first trip. 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.”
Sonoran Desert Toad venom has been used in traditional healing rituals for ages, but its surge in popularity coincides with growing interest in similar psychedelics like ayahuasca, especially among celebrities such as Will Smith, Megan Fox, and Machine Gun Kelly.
The Post reports that Tyson first tried toad venom four years ago, when he was 100 pounds overweight, drinking and abusing drugs.
“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.”
He subsequently lost the 100 pounds, went back to boxing, and reconnected with his wife and kids.
He’s tripped on toad venom 53 times since—taking as many as three per day—and advocates for general psychedelic use across the country.
“It has made me more creative and helps me focus,” he said. “I’m more present as a businessman and entrepreneur.”
“People see the difference [in me],” he added. “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 is also a staunch supporter of cannabis and has two related brands in the works with marijuana titan Columbia Care Inc. One is a “Toad” strain that’s inspired by his Sonoran Desert Toad experiences but doesn’t actually contain the toxins.
He’s also invested in Wesana Health, a biotech company that uses psilocybin—the hallucinogenic chemical found in magic mushrooms—as a treatment for traumatic brain injuries.
“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.”