(NewsNation) — Four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers threw football fans and the sports media into a frenzy this week, after he admitted on a podcast he did the psychedelic drug ayahuasca while in Peru in 2020.
Rodgers, a Super Bowl champion and 10-time Pro Bowl selection, credited his last two MVP awards in 2021 and 2020 to his use of ayahuasca, which he says taught him “unconditional self-love.”
“To me one of the core tenants of mental health is self love, and that’s what ayahuasca did for me, was help me see how to unconditionally love myself,” Rodgers said on the It’s only in that unconditional self-love that I’m able to truly unconditionally love others. This is my own belief, but what better way to work on my mental health than have an experience like that?”
Critics and internet trolls piled on Rodgers like tackling defenders following his admission to using the psychedelic, but Dr. Lynn Marie Morski, president of the Psychedelic Medicine Association, said Rodgers use of psychedelics may not be so strange after all.
“We are on the cusp of it becoming FDA approved in the case of MDMA, which is specifically being looked at to treat PTSD, we’re on the brink of psilocybin being approved as well for things like treatment-resistant depression,” Morski said on “NewsNation Prime.”
Morski said ayahuasca, which contains the psychoactive chemical DMT, can have the exact effects Rodgers reported after his use.
“A lot of (psychedelics) affect the serotonin receptors and also what is called the default mode network,” Morski said. “As Aaron Rodgers was saying, self-love, the opposite of that is that negative voice we have in our head that is always talking to us in ways that are not very kind.”
Morski said psychedelics have the ability to “shake up” the default mode network and help connect different parts of the brain, “so we can form new thought patterns.”
“That’s really helpful for things like depression because very often with depression people have gotten into a psychological rut, feeling very down with lots of negative self-talk,” Morski said. “Like he said, psychedelics have the ability to change your outlook, to decrease some of that negative self-talk, increase self-love and rewrite some of those patterns.”