YouTube/PowerfulJRE
Now playing
01:29
Elon Musk smokes weed during interview
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:06
SEC: Elon Musk officially named 'Technoking of Tesla'
Clubhouse app with popular social networking service apps (Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and WeChat) on iPhone screen.
Shutterstock
Clubhouse app with popular social networking service apps (Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and WeChat) on iPhone screen.
Now playing
02:59
Vladimir Putin considers conversation with Elon Musk on Clubhouse
In 1999, Elon Musk showed off his newfound Silicon Valley riches when he received a brand new McLaren F1 supercar.
CNN
In 1999, Elon Musk showed off his newfound Silicon Valley riches when he received a brand new McLaren F1 supercar.
Now playing
01:54
Watch a young Elon Musk get his first supercar in 1999
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, speaks during the Satellite 2020 at the Washington Convention CenterMarch 9, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, speaks during the Satellite 2020 at the Washington Convention CenterMarch 9, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
07:02
Will Elon Musk's move to Texas affect Tesla brand?
Neuralink
Now playing
01:08
Watch Elon Musk show how the Neuralink brain implant works — using a pig
CNN
Now playing
03:14
In 2010, Elon Musk had big plans for Tesla. Listen to his predictions
Now playing
01:03
No, this isn't a flying grain silo. It's SpaceX's Starship prototype
Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk introduces the newly unveiled all-electric battery-powered Tesla Cybertruck at Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, California on November 21, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk introduces the newly unveiled all-electric battery-powered Tesla Cybertruck at Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, California on November 21, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:01
Elon Musk has a lot to say about Covid-19. Some of it isn't true
Now playing
02:52
Listen to Elon Musk's early predictions about space travel
Now playing
01:09
Elon Musk busts a move in Shanghai
SpaceX
Now playing
03:52
Elon Musk: Starship could take people to orbit within a year
Bloomberg/Getty Images
Now playing
03:21
Hear some of Elon Musk's most ambitious predictions
Courtesy Boring Company
Now playing
01:45
Elon Musk unveils the tunnel he says will solve LA traffic
Gabe Ramirez/CNN
Now playing
01:19
See Tesla's new Model Y
Now playing
01:53
How Tesla made electric cars sexy

Editor’s Note: This story originally published on September 7, 2018.

(CNN Business) —  

There was whiskey, a joint, a Samurai sword and long conversations about artificial intelligence and the end of the universe.

Just another installment in the extraordinary saga of Elon Musk, the billionaire leader of two major companies that are trying to change the world.

The CEO of electric-car maker Tesla (TSLA) and rocket startup SpaceX spent more than two-and-a-half hours Thursday night talking to podcast host Joe Rogan about what it’s like inside his head (“a never-ending explosion”), keeping a car company in business (“very difficult”) and trying to get governments to regulate artificial intelligence ("nobody listened”).

Musk has come under heavy pressure in recent weeks over his botched attempt to take Tesla private and his erratic behavior. But in the interview with Rogan, which was streamed on YouTube, he appeared at ease.

The South African-born entrepreneur wielded a flamethrower, unsheathed a Samurai sword and held forth on a wide range of subjects:

Being Elon: ‘I don’t think people would like it that much’

Musk touched on the difficulties of having the kind of brain that has enabled him to build and run multiple high-tech companies at the same time.

“I don’t think you’d necessarily want to be me,” he said. “I don’t think people would like it that much.”

The inside of his head is like “a never-ending explosion” with ideas bouncing around all the time, he said, adding that he finds it “very hard” to turn his brain off.

Running Tesla is his “hardest” job, he told Rogan.

The car company has struggled to scale up production of its Model 3 sedan, which has been hit by a number of delays, intensifying the pressure on Musk.

“It’s very difficult to keep a car company alive,” he said.

Smoking weed: ‘It’s like a cup of coffee in reverse’

Musk raised eyebrows on social media after accepting what Rogan said was a joint of marijuana and tobacco and taking a puff. “I mean, it’s legal, right?” he asked.

Marijuana is legal in California, where the interview took place, but Musk’s phone later started buzzing. “I’m getting text messages from friends saying, ‘What the hell are you doing smoking weed?’” he said.

Musk explained that he’s “not a regular smoker of weed” because he “doesn’t find it’s very good for productivity.”

Musk told Rogan that he's not a regular weed smoker.
YouTube/PowerfulJRE
Musk told Rogan that he's not a regular weed smoker.

“It’s like a cup of coffee in reverse,” he added.

Musk already alarmed some Tesla investors by admitting in an emotional interview last month with The New York Times that he takes the prescription drug Ambien because he has difficulty sleeping.

He has denied he was smoking weed when he sent his now infamous tweet on August 7 claiming he had secured funding to take Tesla private.

Transportation: Flying cars won’t ‘make your neighbors happy’

The interview touched on one of Musk’s favorite themes: ways to revolutionize transportation.

Musk said he had come up with preliminary designs for a supersonic, electric plane that would take off and land vertically.

But he doesn’t plan to pursue the idea anytime soon, as he is too occupied with Tesla, SpaceX and other projects.

“I have a lot on my plate,” Musk said. “An electric plane isn’t important right now.”

He insisted that his plans to dig tunnels under cities to whisk commuters around in high speed pods are the best solution to traffic jams. But he expressed frustration about his efforts to build a tunnel under Los Angeles.

“Maybe it will be successful, maybe it won’t,” Musk said. The city “is a terrible place to dig tunnels,” he added. “Mostly because of paperwork.”

Musk's Boring Company, which he describes as a "hobby," is trying to build a tunnel under Los Angeles.
Boring Company
Musk's Boring Company, which he describes as a "hobby," is trying to build a tunnel under Los Angeles.

The tech entrepreneur ruled out the prospect of flying cars, saying they would be too noisy and impractical.

“If you get one of those toy drones and imagine it’s 1,000 times heavier — that’s not going to make your neighbors happy,” he explained.

“If you want a flying car, just put wheels on a helicopter,” he added.

Artificial intelligence: ‘If you can’t beat it, join it’

Musk said his efforts to merge the human brain with machines are making progress.

His venture Neuralink will have “something interesting” to announce in a few months that will be “an order of magnitude” ahead of what people currently think is possible, he said.

Neuralink aims to link humans to computers without a physical connection by implanting tiny electrodes into the brain.

Musk has repeatedly expressed concerns about the dangers of unrestrained development of artificial intelligence but says his push for a more cautious, regulated approach has been “futile.”

He told Rogan he thinks that merging humans with computers is the approach that “seems probably the best for us: if you can’t beat it, join it.”