From NFL quarterbacks to musicians, celebrities are pushing psychedelics
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn't sure when he would speak publicly about using ayahuasca, a psychedelic brewed drink.
Driving the news: Rodgers was perhaps the most high profile guest at the Psychedelics Science 2023 conference in Denver, providing a keynote address Wednesday night at the Bellco Theater.
Details: Rodgers said he used ayahuasca for the first time in Peru in 2020, before earning back-to-back MVP honors with the Green Bay Packers.
- Yet, he felt concerned about how people would perceive him using a federally illegal substance. Once he did share his experience, he said the response from other people in the sports industry was "incredible."
What they're saying: "It's radically life-changing," Rodgers said on Wednesday about taking psychedelics with teammates.
Why it matters: The public support from celebrities like Rodgers signals a changing attitude toward the substances, whose health benefits are still being studied, but potential for medicinal use are slowly becoming more accepted.
Zoom in: Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge discussed her support for plant-based medicine before her show at Bluebird Theater in Denver on Wednesday. She spoke at the conference earlier in the day.
- Her support stems from personal tragedy: Her son, Beckett Cypheridge, died from an opioid overdose in Denver in 2020.
- His passing galvanized her, leading her to create a foundation to support research for addiction treatment by providing grants, including funding psilocybin studies.
By the numbers: Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, has pledged to give $100 million toward research.
- He discussed his donation during a keynote conversation at the conference. He told MarketWatch he's donating the money, "to get this right, and we really need to have these foundations and nonprofits funded properly."
- Mycoskie said he's used ayahuasca, which he said made him feel more connected to his faith.
Between the lines: Alex Kopacz, an Olympic gold-medal winning bobsledder from Canada, tells us he wants to leverage his celebrity to promote its medicinal use.
Yes, but: Kopacz said any attempts to legalize something like psilocybin needs to be done with regulations in place, similar to Colorado's decriminalized system.
- "There is a power there that needs to be respected," Kopacz, who was scheduled to present at the conference on Thursday, tells us.
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