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Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson says he ‘died’ while using psychedelic toad venom

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Iron Mike Tyson is not one to back down from any fight – or any dare.

And that includes psychedelic toad venom.

The former heavyweight boxing champion said he "died" while using toad venom for the first time four years ago, and has continued to use it.

"In my trips I’ve seen that death is beautiful," Tyson told The New York Post at Wonderland, a Miami conference dedicated to psychedelics, microdosing and medicine. "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 hibernates underground for seven months, but when it’s above ground its venom can be smoked to produce a psychoactive experience.

Former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson during an interview with USA TODAY.
Former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson during an interview with USA TODAY.

Tyson, now 55, said he has taken the venom more than 50 times and admitted he took the first one as a dare.

"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 has been an advocate for toad venom and psychedelics and says he's lost 100 pounds and become closer to his family.

"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."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mike Tyson says he ‘died’ while using psychedelic toad venom