Former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson says he believes the NFL will have no choice but to remove marijuana from its lists of banned substances in the near future.
Speaking at a marijuana business conference, Jackson called on the league to allow medical marijuana as a means to help players deal with the physical and psychological pain and head injuries inherent to their profession.
Jackson said he avoided opiate painkillers as much as he could during his six-year career from 2003-08. Instead, he self-medicated with marijuana so that he wouldn’t retire addicted to prescription drugs like so many of his contemporaries, he said.
“It kept my brain clean,” Jackson said Wednesday during the Cannabis Business Executives Breakfast that kicked off a three-day conference titled “Sports, Meds and Money.”
“I feel like I exited the game with my mind intact. And I credit that to marijuana in a lot of ways and not getting hooked on these pain pills that are recklessly distributed in the league when a guy gets an injury,” Jackson said.
He said he believes most NFL players use marijuana — they’re only tested for street drugs once a year whereas random tests for steroids are conducted year-round — and that the league knows this.
“They’re aware that probably over half of their players smoke weed. They’ve been doing it since they were teenagers. The fact that they’ve been doing it that whole time and still made it to the NFL and are able to satisfy the demands of very, very strict employers on a daily basis means that their marijuana use is in check,” Jackson said. “Marijuana is not a problem in their lives.”
The real danger is that they’re “smashing their skulls over and over and over again,” he said. “And as long as we as fans or the media love this game and want this game to continue and want our players to play hard, we have to open up our minds and be a little bit more compassionate about how we approach their health care.”
– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.