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EXCLUSIVE: NBA Star Lamar Odom Talks Psychedelics - His Experiences, Investments & Enthusiasm About The Sector

·5 min read

Lamar Odom, globally known for his achievements on the court, is getting back into the public conversation with words of praise for the healing potential of psychedelic medicine.

Three years ago, the NBA star and former LA Lakers forward began a healing path that involved ketamine and ibogaine, two substances known as part of the “psychedelic renaissance.”

In an exclusive interview with Benzinga, Odom shared his experiences with psychedelics and his thoughts on the market potential of this new paradigm in mental health treatment.

A Healing Journey With Psychedelics

Odom says he was taught to stay away from psychedelic drugs from an early age.

“I was always told to avoid psychedelics because in my community if something goes wrong, you could end up in jail or dead,” Odom said.

His first steps into psychedelic medicine came through his friendship Zappy Zapolin, a dot-com entrepreneur and filmmaker known for being a “psychedelic concierge to the stars.”

“I met Zappy Zapolin through a friend in 2018 and he told me about the power of psychedelic medicine to overcome anxiety and addiction. Shortly after that, I had my first psychedelic experience with ketamine, which felt like going to heaven and coming back,” described Odom.

The Athlete’s struggles with substance abuse became publicly known when in 2015, he suffered an overdose in Las Vegas.

The event drew significant media attention, as the athlete had recently starred in “Khloé & Lamar,” a spin-off series from the hit reality-TV show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” which starred himself and his wife at the time, Khloé Kardashian.

Lamar Odom Reborn

Odom’s healing path with psychedelics was documented in “Lamar Odom Reborn,” a documentary film directed by Zapolin, which follows the athlete’s journey using ketamine treatments and ibogaine to overcome trauma.

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Photo: Odom and Zapolin, from the documentary film "Lamar Odom Reborn." - Courtesy image.

Odom says that in the past, his efforts to overcome trauma involved using external elements.

“This time I tried going inside myself for healing, and it made all the difference in the world,” he shared.

Zapolin said that Odom is incredibly brave to share his psychedelic intervention with others.

“When I asked him if he would be willing to let me film him having the psychedelic experiences, and he said yes, I was shocked but also elated because I knew it could help so many other people to get to witness his journey,” said the filmmaker.

In November, Odom will join Zapolin on a live panel at Wonderland: Miami, a two-day event focused on the business of psychedelic medicine.

“I’ll be speaking on a panel with Zappy and some other experts on ketamine and psychedelic medicine and I’m sure it will be a great event,” Odom says. The panel will also feature a preview of the documentary film.

Ketamine And Beyond

Zapolin shared further comments on Lamar’s healing journey.

“I created a formula specifically for Lamar which was: ketamine + plant medicine + daily practice = conscious transformation. Seeing the transformation Lamar has gone through in such a short amount of time, I know this would only be possible with psychedelics,” Zapolin said.

After seeing him comfortable with his psychedelic experience, Zapolin suggested Odom should travel to Mexico to be treated with iboga, an African root used to break addictions.

“It was an incredible and intense experience. I got to hear my mother’s voice for the first time in more than 25 years and I also got to see my son, who passed away, grow up to the age he would be now,” said Odom, adding that the Bwiti tribe in Africa use iboga to reconnect with their ancestors.

“We really need to make this medicine available in the United States,” Odom added. “It was life-changing for me and I wish this for anyone who has lost someone or is dealing with addiction.”

On Building Businesses And The Psychedelics Industry

In 2019, Odom ventured into the cannabis industry with the launch of a CBD vape brand under his own name.

“When I’ve had family members struggling with health issues, one of the first things I recommend is CBD. I know it’s great with inflammation and so much of getting better is about dealing with that inflammation in the body,” he said.

When asked if interested in the business of psychedelic medicine, Odom says he’s very excited about the field, he's only interested in companies that seek to really heal people or at least try.

“As an entrepreneur, I’m picking my areas to get involved in. I’d like to lend my voice to companies that have good intent behind their products,” Odom said. “I do see this as a bit of a gold rush and it feels like a lot of companies are popping up just to try to make money.”

However, the involvement of big pharma in the psychedelics field is not a cause of concern for him, as he hopes companies in this sector can eventually help support the industry and make psychedelics available on a much broader scale.

“If we really want Americans and everyone around the world to benefit from these compounds, we need some of the big players who have the distribution in place to get behind it,” Odom said.

The athlete shared some final words of encouragement for people struggling with addiction, depression or other mental health disorders.

“I would say take the leap, it’s worth trying. We’ve tried everything else like anti-depressants and talk therapy...that’s pretty much what got us into this epidemic of suicide, depression and addiction, even before the pandemic hit everybody with a dose of PTSD,” Odom said.

“If you are in a state or city that allows psychedelics, I would say talk to a psychedelic concierge like Zappy to figure out what medicine would be best for you.”

Photo by Bridget Samuels on Wikimedia Commons and Photo by Corleone Brown on Unsplash.

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