Mike Tyson dropped dead from drugs — sorta.
“I ‘died’ during my first trip,” the 55-year-old former world champion boxer told The Post at Wonderland, a Miami conference dedicated to psychedelics, microdosing and medicine. “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.”
The “toad” is Bufo alvarius, a Mexico amphibian otherwise known as the Sonoran Desert Toad. It spends seven months of the year living underground, but when it’s active, its venom can be smoked to produce a short psychoactive trip. The venom has long been used in traditional healing rituals but, with the popularity of LSD and ayahuasca among the rich and famous, “the toad” is getting a lot of more attention.
Tyson discovered it four years ago. At the time, he was 100 pounds overweight, drinking and drugging. He was sluggish and unhappy. One of his friends suggested he try toad venom, and the athlete 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.”
He’s now tripped toad 53 times — sometimes 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.
He’s also become an advocate for psychedelics, evangelizing all over the country.
“It has made me more creative and helps me focus,” he said. “I’m more present as a businessman and entrepreneur.”
Tyson is so into the trippy toad that he has a whole nursery of the amphibians at his ranch in Desert Hot Springs in Southern California. Venom on demand, if you will.
“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 is working on two brands of cannabis — including one called “Undefeated” — with a new team, including entrepreneur Adam Wilks and marijuana heavyweight Columbia Care Inc. His “Toad” line will not include actual psychedelic venom, but the strain is inspired by his wild experiences with the toad.
But with cities like Denver, Detroit and Oakland starting to decriminalize mushrooms, Tyson hopes he will be able to sell the real toad venom soon.
To that end, he’s invested in Wesana Health, a biotech company that is using psilocybin 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.”