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The list of celebrities who are out-and-proud about their psychedelic experiences is long: Anthony Bourdain, A$AP Rocky, and Sarah Silverman, to name a few. Other big names, like Frank Ocean, feature references to psychedelics in their lyrics and sounds. Kacey Musgraves claims that psychedelics brought her “closer to our planet and to humanity.”
Still, a few brave superstars have come out of the psychedelic closet in a big way, crediting their experiences as some of the most impactful moments in their lives. Psychedelics were catalysts to major changes in their worldview and their careers. Wondering who they are? We’ve collected the best nuggets of trippy celebrity wisdom in this brief list.
1. Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is not shy about psychedelics. Last year, he ate four grams of magic mushrooms during a recording of the podcast “Impaulsive.” It took him several minutes to chew through the sizable handful of dried golden caps—a segment that’s been viewed over six and a half million times.
Yet, it’s not this brazen stunt that makes Tyson’s interview special; It’s his honesty and openness about the role psychedelics play in his life. “Mushrooms make you pretty objective,” Tyson tells the hosts, “they make you objective to what’s really going on. Mushrooms really tell you that you’re nothing.”
“They make me be a better me,” he says.
Tyson’s reverence for the psychedelic experience came to light in an interview with Reuters earlier this year. He credits his experience with psychedelic medicines for reviving his career—and ultimately saving his life.
“To think where I was—almost suicidal—to this now,” he says, “Isn’t life a trip, man? It’s amazing medicine, and people don’t look at it from that perspective.”
2. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus is the youngest superstar to come out of the psychedelic closet in a strong way—and she’s far from bashful in her interviews about substances. Once, she stated that “a lot of drugs” ended the life of her fictional alter ego Hannah Montana. In more recent interviews, she’s opened up about re-evaluating her relationship with substances. Still, that doesn’t change the impact that the psychedelic ayahuasca had on her life. She told Rolling Stone last year—
“Ayahuasca was definitely one of my favorite drugs I’ve ever done. When I did it, I asked everyone else in the room, ‘Did your entire life just change? Are you a new person?”
Cyrus’s high esteem for the ayahuasca experience hasn’t changed for a number of years, apparently. In 2015, she told the New York Times: “I think ayahuasca is a healing thing. […] I loved what it did for me.”
3. Carrie Fisher
“If you’re doing drugs the right way, you can’t tell an orderly story,” begins Carrie Fisher. Fisher’s candid tales of tripping on LSD surprised viewers in Netflix’s Have A Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics. Her first recounting is hilarious, involving a topless beach adventure in Seychelles and a bus full of tourists. But she also credited LSD for helping her through the pressure that came from fame.
“I took acid and went: ‘Oh, I see, this makes sense,’” she confessed. “And in fact, when I was first told that I was bipolar, I went into the doctor, and I said, ‘well, I felt normal on acid.’”
Fisher’s experiences with LSD occurred before her relationship with substances dipped into the dark side. In a 2016 interview with journalist Andy Green for Rolling Stone, Fisher recounts: “I had a lot of fun on acid and mushrooms and all that stuff. It was a part of my life when I was very young. I got into a lot of trouble because of it. Not the LSD, though. The other drugs.”
When asked what drugs she wishes she would have avoided, she explained, “The stronger of the opiate class. I would say heroin. I snorted that. I never did it the full-on way.”
4. Reggie Watts
Watts recounted his early experiences with psychedelics to Javier Hesse in an article for Forbes last year. “It was just a very crazy night,” says Watts, referring to the first time he tried LSD. “But it definitely opened my mind in a way that unveils a lot more to the universe, or self-understanding, for sure.”
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In later years, psychedelic experiences inspired major lifestyle changes for Watts. “I became vegetarian because of it,” he said, “I started getting into sacred geometry and all kinds of mathematics concerning sacred geometry. Basically, I went into a new age phase, researching things about consciousness and aliens and all this stuff. It was kind of like a big awakening time for me.”
Now, Watts has settled down a bit, engaging more with cannabis than psychedelics. He’ll maybe take mushrooms once “every three or four years,” he says.
Few celebrities are as open about drugs as Seth Rogen—a man who split 60 grams of magic mushrooms with a friend in Amsterdam and proceeded to tell Jimmy Kimmel all about the experience. Spoiler: It starts with a grocery store and ends in another country.
Yet, not everything is all fun and games for this comedian. In a 2015 interview with Vulture, Rogen confides that he finds magic mushrooms to be “a very insightful drug – very introspective.”
Although, Rogen also confesses that he doesn’t use psychedelics quite as much these days. Still, mind-bending plants and fungi continue to influence his life and work. “I did shrooms recently and then quit a job the next day,” he recounts. “So yeah, I’ve made some real-life decisions as a result.”
6. Susan Sarandon
Big-name pop celebrities like Seth Rogen and Miley Cyrus often make headlines for their outspokenness about substances. Yet, acting legend Susan Sarandon has been an advocate for liberalizing drug policy for years. Her proclivity for activism makes sense—she got LSD directly from Timothy Leary back in the day.
“I’m not new to the idea of mushrooms,” she admitted to The Daily Beast. “I don’t really like chemical things, really. Timothy Leary was a friend of mine so that acid was nice and pure, but I’m not really looking for chemicals, and I don’t like to feel speedy. But I’ve done Ayahuasca, and I’ve done mushrooms and things like that. But I like those drugs in the outdoors—I’m not a city-tripper.”
But, Sarandon has a sensible attitude about when it’s appropriate to engage with substances and when it’s not—
“Don’t be stoned if you have to pretend you’re not, so I’d never do drugs if I was taking care of my kids. I like doing it in the Grand Canyon or in the woods. You want to be prepared and not have responsibilities. It does remind you of your space in the universe—your place in the universe—and reframe things for you. I think you can have some very profound experiences.”
7. Rosie Perez
Rosie Perez had her first psychedelic experience in an unfortunate way—unintentionally. Perez drank two glasses of acid-spiked punch at a nightclub in the 1980s. The aftermath was an experience, to say the least.
“All of a sudden, the entire nightclub started to expand,” she recounts in Have A Good Trip. “The wooden floorboards were waving as if they were water on the high-seas.” Yet, the trip turned south as soon as she realized that she was tripping on LSD.
“My first thought wasn’t ‘I’m high on acid,’” she says, “It was ‘oh my God, I hope God doesn’t punish me because I’m high on acid.”
Before this experience, she admits, dancing was her high. Perez, who grew up Catholic in Puerto Rico, didn’t drink or take any substance on principle. After the unintentional LSD experience, however? Rosie recounts that she decided to seek therapy about her upbringing. “God forbid, I never want to be burdened with that much guilt ever again in my life,” she says.
Regardless, although Perez’s trip ultimately fostered a meaningful experience for her, it’s important to get one thing clear: It’s both cruel and illegal to accidentally dose someone on acid without their knowledge and their witting consent.
Tech superstar Steve Jobs earns the prize for one of the most famous quotes on the life-changing nature of psychedelics to date: “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life,” he told biographer Walter Isaacson.
“LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”
9. Anaïs Nin
Names like Albert Hofmann, Aldous Huxley, and Timothy Leary often get the most press in the world of Western psychedelic activists. Yet, we shouldn’t forget Anaïs Nin. Nin not only pioneered the world of women’s erotica, but she was a notable participant in the early experiments with LSD in the 1950s. Her experiences with these experiments influenced both her academic work and her thoughts on creativity. She talks in detail about her first LSD experience in volume five of her diary:
“The walls turned to gold, the bedcover was gold, my whole body was becoming gold, liquid gold, scintillating, warm gold. I was gold. It was the most pleasurable sensation I had ever known, like an orgasm. It was the secret of life, the alchemist’s secret of life.”
Nin delighted in the experience at first, yet she was critical of the scientific method for studying the effects of psychedelic drugs. “No one had taught them to dream, to transcend outer events and read their meaning,” she later wrote of scientists like Hofmann and Huxley. “They had been deprived of all such spiritual disciplines. It was a scientific culture, a technological culture.”
Note: This article contains references to mental health crises. If you relate to feeling suicidal or are having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact your local emergency services if you are outside of the United States.
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