Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently surprised NFL fans by crediting his professional success to psychedelics.
During the episode, Marcus, founder of the sports supplement company ONNIT, asked Rodgers about his experience with ayahuasca.
Rodgers told him that using the psychedelic removed personal obstacles and improved his mental health by helping him develop self-love.
“To me, one of the core tenets of your mental health is that self-love,” Rodgers said. “That’s what ayahuasca did for me, was help me see how to unconditionally love myself. It’s only in that unconditional self love, that then I’m able to truly be able to unconditionally love others. And what better way to work on my mental health than to have an experience like that?”
The four-time NFL MVP went on to say that the experience helped him become a better teammate.
“The greatest gift I can give my teammates, in my opinion, is to be able to show up and to be someone who can model unconditional love to them,” Rodgers said. “I mean obviously it’s important I play well, and show up and lead and all that stuff. They won’t care about what you say until they know how much you care.”
What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a popular psychedelic drug used in religious ceremonies mainly in South America. In recent years, the plant has become popular among those taking retreats to find spiritual enlightenment and relief from mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Ayahuasca’s trippy experience comes from a chemical called dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. After drinking a reddish-brown brew made from the plant’s bark, vine, and leaves, people usually vomit, then experience 30-45 minutes of vivid hallucinations.
Benefits of Ayahuasca
Ayahuasca and other psychedelics including psilocybin (magic mushrooms) have gained popularity thanks to documentaries (like Netflix’s How to Change Your Mind and Fantastic Fungi) and emerging scientific research.
A 2021 study from the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry suggests using ayahuasca in a traditional setting—referring to its common practice in the Amazon—may improve a number of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.
A 6-month follow-up showed benefits lasted without using more psychedelics.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have also found that synthetic forms of DMT may improve anxiety and depression, and can increase feelings of self-worth.
Is Ayahuasca Safe and Legal?
Despite this mounting research, more research needs to be done before confirming ayahuasca’s potential to treat mental health issues (or up your football skills).