Former boxing champion Mike Tyson is feeling good these days and he attributes his good spirits to smoking hallucinogenic toad venom three times a day.
Yes, you read that right.
The amphibian, also known as Bufo alvarius or the Sonoran Desert Toad, is indigenous to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.
It is known to excrete deadly toxins through its glands as its primary defense mechanism.
Scientists call the compound found in its venom 5-MeO-DMT, which is said to induce an "intense psychedelic state" when consumed by users.
The 55-year-old told The New York Post at Wonderland–a Miami conference "dedicated to psychedelics, microdosing and medicine" he "died" on his "first trip", which gave him a renewed perspective on death.
"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 found out about the hallucinogenic drug four years ago through a friend when he was feeling sluggish, 100 pounds overweight, drinking, and doing drugs.
He recalled how the toad venom helped him out of a slump.
"I did it as a dare. 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."
Alan K. Davis of the Psychedelic Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University said in a 2019 Addiction Center report the venom was an "intense experience" not recommended for parties.
Davis asserted it was "not a recreational drug" and that people can "white out" and "disassociate from their mind and body" if they get dosed too high.
In some cases, a lethal dose can lead to death.
In 2019, photographer José Luis Abad died after allegedly using a pipe to inhale vapors from the toxic Bufo alvarius toad at a Shamanic ritual held at the home of a prominent Spanish adult film star, Nacho Vidal.
According to The New York Post, Tyson tripped toad 53 times, "sometimes three times in the same day."
After losing 100 pounds in three months, taking up boxing again, and reconnecting with his family, Tyson found purpose by becoming an advocate for psychedelics and their usage across the country.
"It has made me more creative and helps me focus. I'm more present as a businessman and entrepreneur."
He also noted how people have noticed a difference in him, compared to the kind of person he was in 1989.
"My mind isn't sophisticated enough to fathom what happened, but life has improved," said Tyson.
"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."
The toad venom is also nicknamed the "God molecule."
A 2019 study found that the natural psychedelic substance contained therapeutic properties that can potentially ease anxiety and depression. However, research for its effects on people is still in its infancy.
Meanwhile, Tyson keeps Sonoran desert toads on his ranch in Desert Hot Springs, California.
With the decriminalization of mushrooms in cities like Denver, Detroit, and Oakland, he hopes to start sharing the love by making toad venom available across the country, soon.
"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."