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NFL star Aaron Rodgers credits psychedelics for improving his performance on the football field

Aaron Rodgers has continued to advocate for the legalization of some psychedelics, claiming this week that ayahuasca helped to improve his performance on the football field.

Speaking in Denver, Colorado, at Psychedelic Science 2023, which calls itself the largest psychedelic conference in history, the NFL quarterback referred to his experience of using ayahuasca, a drink made from Amazonian plants that contain a psychoactive ingredient.

“It’s going to be hard to cancel me because the previous year [in 2019] – 26 touchdowns, four interceptions, we had a good season,” Rodgers, who was then playing for the Green Bay Packers, said on Wednesday. “Ayahuasca – 48 touchdowns, five interceptions, MVP. What are you gonna say?”

Rodgers has often been the subject of ridicule for embracing alternative therapies, but has previously credited psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca for helping to alleviate his fear of death and deepening a sense of self-love.

Last year, residents in Colorado joined Oregon in voting to legalize psilocybin, the mind-altering component of magic mushrooms. Rodgers, who recently left the Packers for the New York Jets, made reference to the decriminalization of psilocybin in Colorado while speaking in Denver.

Small clinical trials have shown that one or two doses of psilocybin, given in a therapeutic setting, can make dramatic and long-lasting changes in people suffering from treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, though scientists are still exploring the how and the why behind the connection between psychedelics and improved mental health.

Experts also warn that taking psilocybin and other hallucinogens comes with potential health risks, such as psychosis or other longer-term mental health issues in some, as well as physical effects such as raised blood pressure and heart rate abnormalities.

In February, the 39-year-old Rodgers underwent a four-day darkness retreat as a way, he explained, to “get in a better headspace and have a greater peace in my life.”

Speaking to podcast host Aubrey Marcus about his use of psychedelics on Wednesday, Rodgers said: “Is it not ironic that the things that actually expand your mind are illegal and the things that keep you in the lower chakras [energy points in the body] and dumb you down have been legal for centuries?

“I guarantee you all these bums who want to come after me online about my experience and stuff, they’ve never tried it. They’re the perfect people for it, we need to get these people to take it.”

The four-time MVP said that he has been approached by athletes in the NFL and across other sports for guidance on taking psychedelics.

“The response from other people in the sports industry has been pretty incredible,” said Rodgers.

“To see basketball players and baseball players and surfers, entertainers and my own teammates and colleagues across the league reach out and either share their story about their own medicine journey or ask to be a part of an upcoming one was pretty special.”

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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