Elon Musk defended his prescription for ketamine, saying his usage of the drug helps him alleviate a “negative chemical mind state” that benefits investors in Tesla, the electric car maker he leads as CEO.

Musk made the comments in an hour-long interview with former CNN host Don Lemon, who posted the sometimes contentious conversation Monday on social media, including on Musk’s X (formerly known as Twitter) platform.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Even before the interview was made public, the discussion had garnered attention when Musk abruptly canceled X’s contract with Lemon shortly after he interviewed the billionaire. In January, X had announced that Lemon would bring his “unique and honest voice” to the social media company in three 30-minute episodes per week. 

Lemon’s interview with Musk delves into numerous topics, ranging from the entrepreneur’s views on race to X’s loss of advertisers over his antisemitic comments, with Musk growing increasingly ill-tempered with Lemon over the course of the discussion. Questioned by Lemon about his use of drugs, Musk noted that he has a physician’s prescription for ketamine, a “dissociative anesthetic hallucinogen” that was cited as a cause of actor Matthew Perry’s death last year, and that he takes it once every other week.

Musk had previously disclosed he has a prescription for the drug, writing on X in August that he takes ketamine for when his brain “goes super negative.”

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In the interview with Lemon, Musk defended his use of ketamine by pointing to Tesla’s value as a publicly held company, suggesting that taking the drug has helped him lead the automaker. 

“What matters is execution,” Musk said. “Tesla is worth about as much as the rest of the car industry combined, from nothing. From an investor’s standpoint, if there is something I’m taking, I should keep taking it.”

Musk added that he doesn’t abuse ketamine because of his workload, which he said frequently involves 16-hour days and working on the weekends. “I can’t really get wasted because I can’t get my work done,” he said.

Tesla shares rose 6.3% on Monday. They’ve plunged about 30% so far this year, compared with a 9% gain for the S&P 500 index.

In a March 13 statement, issued after Musk canceled the X partnership with Lemon, the social media platform said it “champions free speech.” But it added that “like any enterprise, we reserve the right to make decisions about our business partnerships.”

A testy exchange with Musk

The interview ended with testy remarks from Musk over Lemon’s questioning of X’s free speech policies and the loss of big advertisers. In November, Musk had said fleeing advertisers could “kill the company,” but at the same time blasted businesses that were seeking to distance themselves from the social media service. 

In the Lemon interview, Musk defended his approach, saying X wouldn’t censor content at the request of advertisers. 

“You said if they kill the company, it’s done. But doesn’t the buck stop with you?” Lemon asked.

“Choose your question carefully. There are five minutes left,” Musk replied.

After Lemon repeated the question, Musk responded, “I acquired X in order to preserve freedom of speech in America, the First Amendment. If that means making less money, so be it.”

A few seconds later, Musk noted that he was upset at the way Lemon was asking questions, describing it as “not cogent.” He also added that advertisers are returning to X. 

“I feel very optimistic about the future of the X platform,” he said.

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